A gay married Army couple has been barred from attending a military marriage enrichment program at Fort Irwin, California, the Military Times reports:
Shakera Leigh Halford said her wife, a soldier at the post, approached a chaplain at Fort Irwin about participating in a “Strong Bonds” retreat at the base but was told the couple is “ineligible” because of their sexual orientation.
“I’m very sad and disappointed,” Halford said in a statement. “To know there are valuable resources available to soldiers and their families to help us through the challenges of military life, and then be told that we aren’t eligible because of our sexual orientation … it hurts. It really hurts. We’re at a pretty secluded base and there aren’t many other resources out there for us, so what are we supposed to do?”
The retreat is one of the many services run by the Army’s Chaplain Corps. The Southern Baptist Convention, which provides the largest share of active-duty military chaplains, has barred members from taking part in weddings, counseling sessions and couples retreats for same-sex couples. Similar restrictions apply to Roman Catholic chaplains.
The military must somehow resolve the conflict between the chaplains who refuse to serve gay and lesbian couples and Defense Department policy or these cases will continue to crop up.