An Air Force veteran of 19 years was relieved of duty last month because of his beliefs about same-sex marriage, according to Fox News.
Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, ran into trouble when he disagreed with his senior officer about whether she should severely punish a chaplain who had expressed objections to homosexuality. Breitbart reported that Maj. Elise Valenzuela lives an openly lesbian lifestyle and ordered Monk to tell her whether he thought those who disagreed with same-sex marriage discriminated against homosexuals. Monk is a Christian and believes marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” Monk told Fox News. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”
Liberty Institute, a Texas-based legal group focusing on religious liberty issues, has filed an equal opportunity complaint on Monk’s behalf against Valenzuela for unlawful discrimination.
Liberty Institute’s general counsel, Jeff Mateer, told Breitbart that, “hostility to religious faith in the military is rampant and increasing at an alarming rate.”
A Lackland spokesman said Monk wasn’t relieved of duty and his assignment was complete. But documentation released on Aug. 20, after Liberty filed its complaint, said as of June 27, Monk’s assignment was not supposed to end until the end of September. Official fillings dated the disagreement with Valenzuela around July 25. Monk received orders on Aug. 13 assigning him to a new unit the very next day.
Colleen McGee, a spokeswoman for Monk’s previous unit, told Breitbart that the wing commander had ordered a formal investigation of the situation but would not offer any specific comments until it was complete.
Mateer told Breitbart that many service members do not “come forward publicly due to fear of retribution, which would destroy their military careers.” Instances of discrimination against Christians are increasingly widespread, but most service members feel constrained not to speak out because they want to keep serving their country and also need to provide for their families, he said.