Washington, D.C.– In response to the U.S. Navy’s reversal of its recent announcement that it would be allowing same-sex marriages on military bases, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement:

When Congress voted to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, it was cause for national celebration; religious freedom and respect for individual rights had once again been assured for all people serving in our military.  In sharp contrast was the disappointment caused by the U.S. Navy taking a giant step forward, then immediately backward yesterday.  The Navy’s decision to rescind its support for Navy chaplains to be able to conduct same-gender unions on military bases, in states where they are legal, constitutes a significant move further away from, rather than closer to assurance of religious freedom and full respect for individual rights.  The decision even raises concerns about complete acceptance of both gays in the military and greater general openness toward differences.

Members of our armed forces deserve the same individual rights and religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans.  I encourage military leaders to stand up for their vision of good policies for our military personnel even when they are not always popular.  I hate to think of military leadership caving in to negative political pressure.  Delays in justice for our armed forces already have occurred for too long.  I encourage the military to courageously move forward with implementing plans to allow everyone in the military to live openly and with equal rights as they dutifully and bravely serve our country.  Why should those defending freedom for all of us be denied individual freedoms and the religious freedom they fight to protect?  It does not make sense, and it is not right.

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.