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End of DADT Opens Doors to Gay Chaplains

End of DADT Opens Doors to Gay Chaplains

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With service in the U.S. military now open to out-of-the-closet gays and lesbians, some of the spiritually minded among them are seeking to become chaplains.

Chris Daugherty, a 28-year-old Army and Air Force veteran attending college in Denver, talks to Out Front Colorado about his ambition to be a chaplain. Brought up Southern Baptist in Oklahoma, he has joined the more gay-friendly Episcopal Church and embarked on the course of study that will qualify him to be a military chaplain.

"Chaplains are the spiritual psychologists of the military," he says, noting that they minister to people in life-and-death situations far away from home. "They do more than preach or have Sunday services."

While he's glad to have found a welcoming church and that the end of "don't ask, don't tell" has opened up opportunities, he says he would have found a way to become a chaplain in any case. "I know God wouldn't have given me this desire if it wasn't meant to happen," he says.

"Chris is the first case I've heard of in which someone is pursuing the chaplaincy and plans to serve openly," Zeke Stokes of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network tells the paper. "There certainly may be others, and that's to be expected. Some military chaplains will come out, just as some ministers and rectors elect to serve their congregations openly."

Stokes adds, "We would expect [the military] to be welcoming for gay and lesbian chaplains, just as it has been for gay and lesbian service members post-repeal."

Read the full profile here.

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