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Policy repealed

"Policy repealed" Continued...

Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of Marine and Army combat forces responded that there would be a negative impact to their units if the policy were repealed. That number climbs to almost 67 percent of those serving in Marine combat arms.

Also, almost 24 percent of respondents said they would leave the military or think about leaving sooner than planned if the repeal happened.

Congress held minimal hearings on the Pentagon study and voted, with no amendments allowed, on repeal just 18 days after this complex study's release.

The Center for Military Readiness said the Defense Department's April investigative report reveals a contrived process to "neutralize military opposition to repeal of the law by manufacturing an illusion of support. The administration misused military personnel, funds, and facilities to help President Obama to deliver on political promises."

The Center for Military Readiness' Donnelly added, "Trusting personnel who participated in the 2010 surveys and focus groups in good faith were misused as props to create the impression that military people don't care about this issue."

Moving forward, Friday's repeal certification opens up questions about the future consequences of the move. The first casualties of the repeal may be chaplains and religious liberty. Many expect lawsuits to be brought against service members who oppose the homosexual lifestyle.

The questions that military chaplains-both active and retired-are asking include: Will chaplains be allowed to preach on what the Bible says about homosexuality without being accused of hate speech? Will conservative denominations pull their endorsement of chaplains?

Already this year, congressional lawmakers had to step in after a Navy memo declared that that same-sex weddings could occur at chapels in states that recognize gay marriage.

In response, the House Armed Services Committee in May approved legislation that explicitly prohibits U.S. military bases from being used to solemnize same-sex unions. The committee also approved a measure that bars military chaplains from officiating at gay marriages.

The Navy directive has since been revoked. But it reveals what now awaits the military and its chaplains with the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"We are worried that they are casting freedom of religion versus civil rights," retired Navy chaplain Mark Jumper of Illinois told me last December soon after the congressional votes on repeal. "It could lead to a chilling effect on the freedom of religion."

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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