Gay-Bashing the Religious Right’s Forever Issue

At the Values Voter Summit it didn’t take long to become clear that gay-bashing is a forever issue for the religious right. The repeal of the military ban on openly gay servicemembers, and the Obama administration’s recent memo permitting chaplains to conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples if they choose, were the source of great anxiety.

In a panel on the military, with Sen. Jeff Sessions and retired Lt. General Benjamin Mixon, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins suggested that the Obama administration is “ignoring the law” by telling military chaplains that have the option to conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples if they so desire, and putting the religious liberty of anti-LGBT chaplains at risk.  

Mixon, who called “open homosexuality” a “radical change in the way most Americans live,” complained it wasn’t “fair” to chaplains and other servicemembers to be put in the position of wondering whether they are being asked to circumvent “the law of the land.” Mixon quickly added that it believed it unfair for people like him to be labeled a bigot or hater.

Perkins, echoing a theme that Democrats and liberals are tyrannical, wondered whether it might really be optional for people concerned about potential careers and advancement, suggested that there is “tremendous pressure” for military leders to “fall into step with this administration’s values,” rather than the “real” Christian, American “value” against LGBT rights.

On a panel celebrating members of Congress first elected in 2011, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) said, “they are trying to use the military to advance their social agenda. It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Hartzler, who recently authored a book, Running God’s Way, added, “we are going to fight that with everything we have. The law of the land is marriage between and man and a woman and that needs to be upheld.” Freshman Republican Mike Pompeo of Kansas chimed in, “we cannot use military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of our nation.”