This is clearly unlawful and unconstitutional.
Leading U.S. senators have weighed in on the Col. Leland Bohannon controversy, condemning his treatment on religious liberty grounds and demanding an investigation into his case so that justice is “restored.”
Bohannon was the commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. A highly decorated officer and veteran of two wars, he was stripped of his command just before being promoted to Brigadier General and his elevation was cancelled because he didn’t sign a document endorsing same-sex “marriage.”
“Col. Bohannon has suffered severely on account of the Equal Opportunity investigator’s mishandling of his religious liberty rights,” the letter stated. “The Air Force owes it to him to see that justice is restored, along with his good name.”
“Clarify the branch’s position on religious liberty,” the letter asked Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The senators further ask Wilson to “instruct the Air Force to issue formal guidance and provide adequate training to commanders so that they know how to properly and respectfully address the religious liberty rights of their subordinates.”
The letter called for an investigation into “the proceedings surrounding Col. Bohannon’s request for religious accommodation.” It concludes by asking that the original Equal Opportunity complaint against Bohannon be “reversed and any unfavorable note in Col. Bohannon’s service record removed.”
When a homosexual Master Sergeant with a male “spouse” retired, Bohannon’s religious convictions prohibited him from signing the certificate of appreciation to the “spouse.” He asked the Staff Judge Advocate and his chaplain what he should do, and filed for a religious accommodation.
No accommodation came. Eventually, a higher ranking officer signed the certificate. But the Master Sergeant filed a civil rights complaint against Bohannon.
An Equal Opportunity investigator decided Bohannon discriminated against the gay Master Sergeant. Bohannon lost his job, his income, and his career.
The senators’ letter quotes Wilson in her confirmation hearing saying “‘Air Force commanders have a responsibility to ensure that the spiritual needs of all Airmen are met,’“ and the senators urge, “That time is now.”
The senators’ letter also points out that in Bohannon’s case the Air Force has shown that the religious freedom of soldiers is not respected by commanders. LifeSiteNews
The Equal Opportunity investigator unbelievably claimed even had the religious accommodation been granted, Colonel Bohannon would still be guilty of unlawful discrimination.
The EO investigator determined the colonel had discriminated against the gay Airman – and went on to say that “even had the accommodation been granted, Col. Bohannon would nonetheless be guilty of unlawful discrimination.”
Family Research Council’s Travis Weber :
[The DOJ’s religious freedom] memorandum relies on current law—the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 1300.17—which all protect religious freedom in the military, and thus protect Col Bohannon. Indeed, DODI 1300.17 requires an accommodation to be granted unless a military interest overrides it. All of these authorities clearly require the government to protect Col Bohannon’s religious freedom by not forcing him to personally sign the certificate.