A group of military chaplains banded together Monday, informing federal courts that the law barring gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from serving openly is "offensive to many religious organizations."
The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, which is led by retired military chaplains, sent an amicus brief to the ninth circuit court of appeals Monday in support of the Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit against the federal government challenging "don't ask, don't tell." This behind-the-scenes organization is now going public to counter the arguments from others in the religious community who are against repeal.
According to a statement from the group issued Tuesday, maintaining "don't ask, don't tell" would prevent "military chaplains from ministering to the needs of service members whose faith communities are welcoming and affirming to gays and lesbians."
"The right of anti-gay chaplains to preach their beliefs within their denominations is not being abridged," chaplain Paul Dodd, the forum's cochair, said in a statement Monday. "But more importantly, military chaplains are trained to be pluralistic. They must respect the rights of others to hold and practice religious and moral values different from their own."
In addition to the chaplains' document, Servicemembers United filed another friend-of-the-court brief, asking the government to stop enforcing "don't ask, don't tell" as the repeal effort is currently under way. District court Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional and then placed an injunction on its enforcement. However, an appeal by the Department of Justice, which defended the law in court, led to the policy's continued enforcement.
Read more on the chaplains' amiuc brief at LGBT POV.