Comments about ‘Not a conflict: Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Defense of Marriage Act’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 10 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

One of the few things in life you can count on is the Deseret News making bad arguments regarding their well-intentioned yet misguided views of marriage.

Surely the Deseret News doesn't mean to suggest that it is illegal for same-sex couples to enter into committed relationships they refer to as "marriage" in their churches. That's freedom of religion, right? And they may call their relationships "marriage" if they want to, that's freedom of speech, right?

All DOMA says is that is that federal law referring to "marriage" is talking about opposite-couples only, and that states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages of other states. It says absolutely nothing about which religious ceremonies military chaplains are allowed to perform.

If the Deseret News wants to forbid chaplains and adherents from following the dictates of their own consciences and entering into private commitments using the language they choose, it should be arguing for Constitutional amendments to restrict freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

silas brill
Heber, UT

[ Why, then, is the Pentagon using the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" as its basis for authorizing U.S. military chaplains to preside over same-sex marriage ceremonies on U.S. military bases? ]

Like Mitt Romney always says (ad nauseam), "Listen to the generals."

[... protecting the legitimate rights of gays and lesbians to live and work as they choose ...]

Wow. I've followed the Des News editorials for years, and I never really heard this kind of talk. Bravo.

[ Military chaplains, namely those who have moral objections to gay marriage, will bear the brunt of this discrepancy. The Pentagon's policy does little to meaningfully address situations in which their First Amendment freedom of speech and free exercise of religion may be compromised. In doing so, it has created a legal conflict where there was none and turned the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" into an unnecessary showdown. ]

It's called following orders.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Silas Brill:

But it is an illegal order. The military doesn't have the authority to institute something that is prohibited by Congress. If a chaplain who will only perform a traditional marriage is sanctioned somehow he has the basis to turn around and sue the military who have been acting outside of congressional authority.

Salt Lake City, UT

You either decide to be rational and fair about the rights of US citizens, or you decide not to. There is no half way.

DADT wrongly excluded otherwise qualified Americans from serving in the military on the basis of personal characteristics that had nothing to do with their fitness to serve.

Similarly, DOMA wrongly excludes otherwise qualified Americans from marrying the the person they love and with whom they want to share a life, on the basis of a personal characteristic that has nothing to do with their fitness to be married. (Or are you going to argue that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation? You're not going there, are you?)

Treating all Americans rationally, respectfully, and fairly does not support a two-tiered approach to civil rights. All law-abiding US citizen are entitled to the full set of rights and responsibilities associated with that citizenship. We have no second-class citizens in this country.

You've come a long way by acknowledging that DADT was a bad law. All it takes is a little more honesty with yourselves to know that DOMA is bad law, too.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Non-Military people will never understand the Military....

The "Miliary", by it's very organization, is a "Socialist" system.
Same clothes, Same food, Same housing, Same pay....

You are striped of "individualism" from Day one,
It's designed that way at it's very root.

You are a soldier first, American citizen second.
You gave up your "rights" when you go into it.
The Uniformed Code of Military Justice becomes your Constitution while you are in.

It makes no difference it you are
Rich/Poor, Big/Small,, Short/Tall, Male/Female, Black/White, God fearing/God-less...ALL are treated Exactly the the same.
In this case - Gay/Straight -- no exceptions.

Aborations are performed on Military bases.
Military Doctors must fullfill their duty as well.

Besides, Chaplains [and Doctors] are Commissioned Officers.
If they refuse to obey orders - thay can always resign [i.e., "Quit" to the common man]. They always have that as an option.

Salt Lake City, UT

'The Defense of Marriage Act, on the other hand, defines for purposes of all federal law the word "marriage" as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and the word "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." - Article

This article is missing information, and does not reach it's conclusion logically.

As, there have already been numerous cases against the 'Defense of Marriage Act', or DOMA that have failed BEFORE the Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' (DADT)

One example is:

*'Gay marriage wins rulings in pair of federal challenges' - By Denise Lavoie - AP - Published by DSNews - 07/08/10

'The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.'

Once again:

BEFORE the Repeal of DADT, DOMA has factually PREVENTED otherwise legally earned and factually supported Medicaid to gay married couples in states where gay marriage is legal.

The conflict, is obvious.

Some equal protections, are not ALL, legal protections that come with marriage.

As such, they are very much NOT equal treatment.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

LDS Liberal,

I agree that Chaplains are commissioned officers who can resign their commission (under certain circumstances). But is that what we want?

Many religions find the concept of same sex marriage to be highly objectionable. So objectionable that they well might resign - leaving the military in large numbers.

Do we want a military with no (or extremely few) chaplains who are Catholic, LDS, Evangelical, Orthodox Jews, or Muslims? Would that serve our service men and women well?

I think the answer is no.

Yes, a chaplain needs to be able to come out of his or her denominational circle a bit in order to serve all. But there also needs to be some allowance made for their religious convictions.

Salt Lake City, UT

'There is a distinct difference between protecting the legitimate rights of gays and lesbians to live and work as they choose and changing the way society defines marriage.' - Article

This, I believe, is the crux of the issue. And yet, marriage has and CONTINUES to change.

2004. MA is the first state to allow gay marriage.
That was six years ago.

1967. Supreme court ruling allows interacial marriage. Loving vs. Virginia.

1890. In 1890, LDS Church president Wilford Woodruff issued a public declaration (the Manifesto) announcing that the LDS Church had discontinued new plural marriages.

This, is just a few examples. Commong Law marriages, Spirtual marriages, 'Sister wives', etc.

And gay people shouldn't 'change marriage?'

I'm sorry, but with a 50% divorce rate, the 'changes' to the way society defines marriage...

has only ever been done by those who ARE married.

Not those who are, and cannot, marry.

Salt Lake City, UT

'So objectionable that they well might resign - leaving the military in large numbers.' - Twin Lights | 10:04 a.m. Oct. 10, 2011

Twin Lights, I am not trying to attack you, personally...

but this claim has largely been discredited.

*'Pentagon study dismisses risk of openly gay troops' - By Anne Flaherty - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/30/10

As, since DADT's repeal...where IS this 'mass exodus' that many claimed would happen?

Continuing to claim it 'will happen' with no evidence is simply fear-mongering.

I believe it was 10% (higher in active Marines) who even made mention of having issue working with an openly gay person...

in Iraq.

I'm sure there will be SOME who have issue, like chaplins, who work with LGBT persons. But is that they gay person's fault....?

Or their own?

I'm sure many had a hard time working with a person of color.

Thankfully, our military has higher priorities.

My example?

Women can now serve on submarines and the front lines.

Springville, UT

Giving authority and mandating are two different things. This editorial is a twist and turn jog through logical consistency to get to the end desired.

Trenton, NJ

This article (and a number of the comments) raise concerns that are based almost entirely on two bits of misinformation. First, all DOMA says is that the federal government only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman, and that states don't have to recognize same-gender marriages performed in other states. There is nothing in DOMA that prohibits the performance of private, same-gender marriage ceremonies, and so nothing in DOMA that would preclude chaplains from doing so if they choose to. Second, there is an assumption that chaplains who have issues with same-gender marriage will be ordered to perform them, and will be subject to discipline if they refuse. That is totally incorrect. While chaplains do face some restrictions on what they are allowed to do in some situations, out of respect for the diverse religious beliefs of the members of the military, I have yet to hear of any examples where a chaplain was disciplined for refusing to perform a service or rite that ran counter to the beliefs of their endorsing denomination.

Mcallen, TX

Mandatory is a tool for transformation:

1. Military doctors ordered to perforom abortions.
2. Chaplins ordered to perform gay marriages.
3. With the use of federal mandated objectives and standardized tests, teachers are ordered on what and how to teach.
4. The rich will be ordered to pay more. Middle class too?
5. Citizens will be ordered to purchase health insurance.
6. Children will be ordered to not eat certain foods.

How many societies have been deceived than undergone transformations?

Trenton, NJ

@Worf -- why don't you take a shot at answering your own question, staying focused on the topic at hand. Chaplains have served the US military throughout the history of our country. That's an enormous number of chaplains representing a great many different religious denominations, with many conflicting articles of faith. Given your correlation between transformation through deception and mandatory orders, your question as it relates to this topic is: how many chaplains have been ordered, with threat of disciplinary action, to conduct services or perform rites that they and their endorsing denominations believed were in violation of their particular religious beliefs?? Since your question was somewhat rhetorical, just one or two examples will suffice.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Marriage HAS been defined by our Creator as the union between a man and a woman. Its purpose is to "multiply and replenish". Same-sex unions fail on all points. They are not between a man and a woman. Their purpose is NOT to "multiply and replenish".

Under the 1st Amendment, no establishment of religion is required to abide by any rules or to promote any doctrine other than its own.

Those who tell us that "rights" are being denied have changed two words, "marriage" and "rights" to mean something other that what others accept as true and accurate definitions of those words.

Mr. Obama would sign anything to get votes. He has already proved that he is out for himself, no matter the consequence to the nation. He wants re-election so badly that he would do anything and he would say anything to "fool" people into voting for him - even with all the evidence that he has already unalterably harmed this nation.

Trenton, NJ

@Mike Richards -- first, your understanding of how God defines marriage is not terribly relevant as far as the law goes. The Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment prohibits the enacting of laws that establish a preference for the religious views of one group over those of another group. If you want any discriminatory laws to hold up in court, they have to be justifiable using non-religious arguments. Further, your understanding of how God defines marriage is not even shared by many Christians. And it is also inconsistent with current laws, since straight couples that have no intention of having kids, or are unable to have kids, are still allowed to get married.

Your rather odd phrasing of the 1st Amendment is sort of correct. But since nobody is trying to legally force anybody to "abide by any rules or to promote any doctrine other than their own," it is entirely irrelevant. (Though I would note that you appear to be trying to legally restrict those clergy that would like to perform same-gender marriages from doing so.)

Finally, you are not the final arbiter of the true and accurate meanings of "marriage" and "rights."

silas brill
Heber, UT

@Tekakaromatagi | 8:41 a.m. Oct. 10, 2011

[ But it is an illegal order. The military doesn't have the authority to institute something that is prohibited by Congress. ]

DOMA just says the Feds don't have to recognize same-gender marriage. It doesn't state that military chaplains are prohibited if it's legal in that state. Marriage is a state issue, remember? DOMA is not violated by that.

Mcallen, TX


The repeal act is part of the transformation, and is one of many changes. The orders can and probably come with time as the repeal has just occurred. The door is open.

With the complexity of the transformation, more examples would be needed than just two. History has proven people to be unwise and gullible when it comes to leaders ruling society.

Can you list some societies which has prospered while excepting homosevuality?

Trenton, NJ

Worf -- if you are going to claim that such orders will come in time, even though the military says they are not, it would help your case if you could cite a couple of examples related to military chaplains where this has happened in the past. Like I said, this kind of situation is not new. A couple of examples where chaplains were disciplined for refusing to perform a religious rite not in keeping with their beliefs and those of their endorsing denomination would be far more convincing than zero examples. You comment that more than two examples are needed is a complete non-sequitur.

You question about societies and homosexuality is totally off-topic, and a bit disingenuous since Western societies have tended to be very much against homosexuality since the rise of Christianity ... so there aren't many examples where homosexuality was accepted in the first place, either during times of prosperity or times of decline. But certainly there were times when some homosexual practices were accepted during the Greek and Roman empires, both during times of ascendency and prosperity, as well as times of decline. There's no correlation or causal relationship between the two.

Huntsville, UT

"The Defense of Marriage Act, on the other hand, defines for purposes of all federal law the word "marriage" as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and the word "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.""


Which EXPLICITLY discriminates against gays and lesbians.

How is this any different than DADT?

Answer: it is no different. BOTH are INTENDED to discrminated against gays and lesbians. Period.

Salt Lake City, UT

'Worf -- if you are going to claim that such orders will come in time, even though the military says they are not, it would help your case if you could cite a couple of examples related to military chaplains where this has happened in the past.' - OldDaveJersey | 5:36 a.m. Oct. 11, 2011


Asking people who use theological arguments for facts and examples is moot.

They can only RELY on theology to support their points. If you do not believe in that theology and approach their point from a logical, factual basis, the argument holds no water.

As exampled by 1) Zero examples of chaplins being reprimanded for not presiding over gay marriages. From Mike, Worf or even this article presented by the DSNews.

2) Claims gay marriage 'changes' marriage when, in fact, marriage has changed THROUGHOUT history.

3) The claims that marriage is to procreate, when Octo-mom has x14 children and no husband. Another example? Bristol Palin.

The reality of the situation does not apply to those who argue with theology. Because, they're belief's do not allow them too.

Kinda like trying to play checkers, with someone who can only play Twister.

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