Last month, there on base a military chaplain of the Disciples of Christ performed for two service females who practice homosexuality what is known as a “commitment ceremony.” In some religious faiths, this mimics exactly a sacrament of marriage. Louisiana constitutionally permits only a marriage between one man and one woman, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize anything but this kind of union for administrative purposes, such as filing status of federal income taxes or for survivor benefits. This is the first known instance of such an event occurring, and its timing may have reflected association with Pres. Barack Obama’s campaign-related recanting of opposition to same-sex marriage.
Word of this event leaking out perturbed several Members of Congress, including Louisiana’s Rep. John Fleming, in whose district resides Ft. Polk. Fleming, who with a House majority at one time had backed an effort to amend into law a clarification that would allow any ceremony similar to one of marriage employing military grounds and personnel to have to comport to the federal legal definition of marriage, spoke of concern that the event contravened DOMA and what impact it would have on combat readiness.