As part of last month's training on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, our troops learned how to respond if they saw two male Marines kissing. But what if those two Marines are kissing... at the altar? According to the U.S. Navy, that's okay too. Two weeks ago, the Office of Navy Chaplains shocked everyone by ordering their corps to toss the old training materials and replace them with a version that's more accepting of same-sex "marriage." Citing "additional legal review," the Navy says it "has concluded that... if the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then the base facilities may be used to celebrate the marriage... This is a change to previous training that stated same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property."
Further down, the letter also gives chaplains permission to "marry" homosexuals. "Regarding chaplain participation... a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with the laws of the state which permits same-sex marriages or union." So far, the Navy's decision has gone virtually undetected by the media--even though it violates the most fundamental aspects of repeal. During last year's debate, liberals in the administration and Congress assured us that the military would still be governed by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Even the Pentagon's own materials remind service members that the new policy will not affect benefits, since those are awarded based on the federal definition of marriage.
What these "modifications" prove is that homosexual activists and their allies, as FRC predicted, are using this repeal to move their agenda forward. Offering up federal facilities and federal employees for same-sex "weddings" flies in the face of DOMA, which--last time I checked--was still the law of the land. The administration may be operating as if DOMA doesn't exist, but the Navy and Marines are bound to obey the law.
Obviously, opening up the chaplaincy to this kind of attack makes it even more uncomfortable for men and women of faith to perform their duties. Maybe that's the intent. The more the military evolves, the less likely denominations will be to sponsor chaplains. For most, that would symbolize a major doctrinal shift. It changes the role of these clergy from representing a faith community to representing the military. As I said during this debate last year, this isn't about homosexuals wanting to be soldiers. This is about obliterating every obstacle that stands in the way of redefining society.
Unfortunately, the military was one of the only barriers left. If anything, these changes may be what it takes to get Congress re-engaged. It's up to the House and Senate to ensure that the DADT repeal complies with the law. If it doesn't, then this should be all the justification they need to put the brakes on certification. Voters should hold them accountable to do so.
A Walker on the Wild Side
After two decades of criticism that he wasn't gay-friendly enough, 65-year-old Judge Vaughn Walker paid back his skeptics with one of the most powerful rebukes of man-woman marriage ever. And now we know why. Walker, the judge who struck down California 's Proposition 8 last August, has been in a 10-year homosexual relationship. "I was the ogre of the gay community when I was nominated," he told Reuters, "and a hero when I leave." Shortly after his ruling, Walker stepped down. Supporters of Prop 8 wished he'd done so sooner--by recusing himself from the case in which he had an obvious interest.
Since Walker 's retirement, attorneys for Prop 8 have filed a motion asking the court to abandon the Judge's decision. "It is important to emphasize at the outset that we are not suggesting that a gay or lesbian judge could not sit on this case," attorneys for ProtectMarriage wrote. "Rather, our submission is grounded in the fundamental principle, reiterated in the governing statute, that no judge 'is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome.'"
For his part, Walker said he never considered dropping the case. Ed Whelan, who has a lengthy response to liberals who are criticizing the motion, put the issue into perspective when he said that Judge Walker was "deciding whether to confer on himself a valuable legal right that a reasonable person would believe he had a strong and particular interest in exercising." Regardless of the outcome, marriage proponents stand to gain a lot in the fallout. At the very least, Walker's admission should cast a lot of doubt on his ruling's credibility.
Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council.