CMR Spotlights Fort Polk Marriage Controversy
Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and James Inhofe (R-OK) have responded to concerns about infringements on religious freedom in the military, co-sponsoring a free-standing bill, S. 3526, titled the “Military Religious Freedom Act of 2012 (MRFPA).” This news release from Sen. Inhofe describes the free-standing legislation, which replicates language that the House approved in May, as part of its version of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Same-Sex Marriage in Chapel Divides Fort Polk Community
In May, what was probably the first same-sex "marriage-like ceremony” on a U. S. military base took place in a dedicated chapel at Fort Polk, Louisiana. This controversial, divisive event contravened the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Louisiana state law, which defines marriage as the bond of one man and one woman.
To raise awareness of why the issue is important, CMR has prepared this updated analysis of the pending legislation, which includes a brief but persuasive letter to House Speaker John Boehner from Lt. General Benjamin R. Mixon, USA (Ret.):
In mid-July, 45 leaders of organizations affiliated with the Military Culture Coalition (MCC) which CMR organized in 2010, encouraged Senators Wicker, Inhofe, and several colleagues to join the House in taking appropriate action to protect marriage and religious freedom in the military.
On July 30, CMR sent the following letter, which described the events at Fort Polk in detail, to Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) and other Senate leaders on July 30:
A similar letter was addressed to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA):
In August, the Republican National Convention meeting in Tampa, Florida, approved two planks in the National Platform that express support for marriage and religious liberty in the military.
Dr. Ronald Crews, a retired colonel and Army chaplain, heads the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. Dr. Crews article in the Washington Times highlights a number of incidents involving chaplains who feeling pressure to limit their own religious liberty while extending special treatment to advocates of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) law in our military:
Election results are not determined yet, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may not allow the Inhofe/Wicker bill to move to the floor. But if the legislation draws strong support in the Senate − perhaps even from a few Democrats − Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) and other Armed Services Committee members would be in a better position to protect the House language in the NDAA conference committee.
The process of taking back our military has begun, but there is a lot of work to be done. Americans who are concerned about infringements on religious liberty efforts to redefine marriage in the military should let their members of Congress and the Senate know that their support for the pending legislation will be important.
Details on how to communicate with senators and members of Congress is provided on this website, CongressMerge.
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