Army Ceremony Raises Wed Flags
December 03, 2012 - Monday
Army officials are experts at following orders--except when it comes to federal marriage law. For the second time in two weeks, the brass at West Point opened its gates to lesbian "wedding" ceremonies in direct defiance of the Defense of Marriage Act. Adding insult to the law's injury, Saturday's service was held in the Cadet Chapel, a 176-year-old house of worship that has been the heartbeat of the Academy's Christian community for almost two centuries.
Brenda Fulton, one of the "brides," said the Chapel was a particularly meaningful site, because it's where she first heard the Cadet Prayer: "Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong"--words that, in the end, even West Point failed to live up to. Fulton and her same-sex partner marched down the aisle knowing full well they were leading the military's own processional away from the rule of law. "The liberal social experiment with our military continues," said a frustrated Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) in June.
Although the Academy was more than willing to buck DOMA, West Point's chaplains were not. According to Fulton, the couple's greatest challenge was finding someone to officiate. "[We were] told that none of West Point's chaplains were authorized by their denominations to perform same-sex 'weddings,'" she explained to reporters. Instead, the couple turned to Army Chaplain Col. J. Wesley Smith, a friend from Dover Air Force base who took full advantage of the administration's aggressiveness on the issues.
In September of last year, the Pentagon did issue a memo giving military bases the power to decide whether or not to host same-sex "weddings." Of course, that guidance came from Jeh Johnson, general counsel for the Department of Defense--not Congress. According to Johnson, decisions about military facilities should be made on a "sexual-orientation neutral basis." And while the "wedding" may have been consistent with Johnson's memo, the DOD's general counsel is no substitute for the 427 elected members of Congress who voted to define marriage as the union of a man and woman for the government's purposes. That means it affects federal employees (which Fulton is) and federal property (where West Point resides). The President may vehemently disagree with the law--but until the Supreme Court overturns it or Congress rejects it, DOMA is still the law of the land.
Ironically, the backdrop to this whole firestorm is the current debate over the Defense Authorization bill, which is being hashed out in the U.S. Senate as we speak. And if there were ever a case for the amendments of Reps. Todd Akin and Rep. Steve Palazzo, this is it! In the Defense bill that passed out of the House this summer, leaders agreed to language that would hold the Pentagon's boots to the fire on the Defense of Marriage Act by reiterating the military's ban on homosexual "marriage" ceremonies--like this one--on federal property. The men and women in harm's way deserve Congress's reassurance that they won't be exploited even more to advance this administration's agenda. Contact your senators and ask them to adopt the House language in the Defense bill.
In the States, It's Not Wedded Bliss--It's Wedded Blitz!
Homosexual activists aren't waiting around to see if the Supreme Court will decide the marriage issue. Instead, they're already on the move in states with dreams of taking their agenda to the next level. Believing the tide is starting to turn, the Left is setting its sights on toppling marriage amendments in battlegrounds like Ohio. In the Buckeye State, a petition is already underway to repeal Ohio's 2004 constitutional amendment and replace it with language that legalizes same-sex counterfeits in 2013. Phil Burress, an FRC ally who heads up Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, thinks the Left is underestimating America's opposition. "If [the activists] petitioning for same-sex 'marriage' really believe the majority of Ohioans support it, then why didn't they put the marriage amendment on this year's ballot instead of waiting until 2013, when fewer [people] will vote?"
Still, Phil and others see the battle intensifying. In Minnesota, where voters narrowly defeated a marriage amendment, radical groups are interpreting their opposition as a green light to start redefining marriage. Over the weekend, activists met to map out a strategy to "strike while the iron's hot." During one session, Michelle Dibblee talked about grassroots involvement. "[Legislators] need to hear from constituents and [that means] we need to continue to organize. What we'll be doing over the course of the next six months is helping you all to connect more deeply in your communities, particularly in those places where we think there are legislators who need constituent pressure to be moved."
That could prove difficult--even with a Democratic majority in the state legislature and Governor's mansion. Although the marriage amendment failed on Election Day, a county-by-county breakdown shows the amendment was favored in 75 of the state's 87 counties. Groups like Minnesota for Marriage, who worked around the clock to educate voters on the dangers of same-sex "marriage," know that their work didn't end when November 6 did. Like FRC, they understand that God has called us to stand for truth, no matter who's in charge or what's on the ballot. "[We] fight," said Minnesota's Andy Parrish, "until the whistle blows."
** There's still no word bout which marriage case the Supreme Court will take--if any. Check out Ken Klukowski's column about what's holding up the announcement here.