Gay Man Named Head Chaplain of Canadian Military

By Daniel Reynolds

Originally published on Advocate.com September 17 2013 3:09 PM ET

A gay man has been named as the head chaplain of the Canadian military.

Brig. Gen. John Fletcher, an Anglican priest who has served in his country's military for 33 years, was recently appointed Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, reports the Toronto Star.

Fletcher, 51, told the Canadian publication that he may be the first gay man to hold this office in the Canadian military, which, according to an official, “does not keep track of the sexual orientation” of its members.

The Ottawa-based chaplain, who has a partner of 16 years, recognized that some may find his appointment divisive, but found it to be evidence of the progress of CAF, which lifted its restrictions on gay and lesbian service members in 1992.

“I equally understand that some people will be excited and encouraged by the openness of my own church, to allow me to exercise this ministry and certainly encouraged that I’m free to work within a Canadian military that simply doesn’t discriminate on ... these things,” said Fletcher, who came out 20 years ago, after the military ban was removed.

He added that Canadians should “continue to look at the barriers that might be elsewhere that are keeping people from pursuing vocations they are qualified, or feeling called to go and do.”