But less than 24 hours after arriving at the retreat, she and her spouse were told to leave. The military chaplains who organized the program last month said that the couple was making others uncomfortable. They said they had determined that under federal law the program could serve only heterosexual married couples.
Lieutenant Hardy is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage who had hoped that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 would allow her to fully participate in military life. But she and many other gay and bisexual service members say they continue to encounter a raft of rules and regulations barring them from receiving benefits and privileges routinely accorded to heterosexual service members.
Lieutenant Hardy had been assured by the chaplain’s office in the weeks before the retreat that she and her wife were welcome to attend. The chaplains said in hindsight that those assurances were given in error.
“I felt hurt, humiliated,” said Lieutenant Hardy, 28. “These were people I had been deployed with. And they were telling me I can go to fight the war on terrorism with them, but I can’t attend a seminar with them to keep my marriage healthy.”
Gay marriage is now legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. But because same-sex marriages are not recognized under federal law, the spouses of gay service members are barred from receiving medical and dental insurance and surviving spouse benefits and are not allowed to receive treatment in military medical facilities. Spouses are also barred from receiving military identification cards, which provide access to many community activities and services on base, including movie theaters, day care centers, gyms and commissaries.
A good collection of Tony Perkins’ rants and lies from Rob Boston at Americans United.
It turns out Perkins was referencing a recent debate Barry took part in during the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville. That city is the home of Vanderbilt University, a private institution that requires all campus clubs to be open to all students. Fundamentalist Christians have been complaining about this, saying it will require Christian clubs to admit gay students.
Barry, noting that Vanderbilt is a private school that is free to determine its own policies, advised the crowd to “stop whining.”
The Christian Post picked up the story and quoted Barry as saying: “I would suggest that people in this position - to use a phrase on a button in my dentist office that he always wears when he works, it says, ‘stop whining.’ I’d say stop whining here. Why not do what evangelicals do: Go out into the world, out into the community [and] have your meetings, if you have to, off campus. Show your faith [and] meet with students not in a club room somewhere in the university, but in those home churches that kept Christianity alive during the darkest days of communist China.”
I think it’s pretty clear from the context what Barry was saying here: If Christianity can survive official persecution in China, fundamentalists in America will probably endure, despite this policy at Vanderbilt.
Perkins surely knows this, but I guess he felt compelled to distort Barry’s meaning to stir up his rabid followers. He may have had another motivation as well: Perkins is trying to draw attention away from his antics. You see, the FRC chieftain has hit a rough patch lately.
On Friday, Perkins was slammed for saying that the “birthers,” perhaps the biggest kooks in the right wing’s cacophonous collection of crackpots, have raised “a legitimate issue.”
A few days before that, Perkins was ridiculed nationwide when he attacked Mike and Ike, a popular fruit-flavored candy made by the Just Born firm of Bethlehem, Pa. As part of a publicity stunt to spark new interest in the brand, the company’s owners announced that Mike and Ike are splitting up over creative differences.
Just Born never said Mike and Ike (who, by the way, don’t actually exist) were doing anything other than ending a business arrangement. Perkins immediately assumed it was a case of “gay divorce.”
On a radio spot, Perkins fulminated, “The duo is staging a gay divorce as part of a new ad campaign to draw in younger customers. In this society, even candy has an agenda!”
The Perkins salvo led to an amusing response from the Comedy Channel’s Jon Stewart, who mocked Perkins while lurking behind a “Perkins Cam” that took the shape of a giant penis. (Beware: If you are offended by off-color humor, best skip this clip.)
Perkins also came under fire after he weighed in on the Secret Service prostitution scandal. According to Perkins, the fiasco was caused by the decision to drop the military’s “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy on gay service members.
“You cannot maintain moral order if you are willing to allow a few things to slide,” Perkins intoned.