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Air Force clears Colonel who Refused to.........Endorse Same-sex Spouse

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson speaks during an interview.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson 



"Col. Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of an airman in his command,” 


The Air Force has ruled that a colonel was exercising his religious beliefs when he refused to sign a certificate of appreciation for a subordinate airman’s same-sex spouse.

House lawmakers who protested the earlier suspension of Col. Leland Bohannon last year for discrimination were notified of the decision by the director of a service appeals board in letter Monday from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

“The director concluded that Col. Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of an airman in his command,” Wilson wrote to the lawmakers. “The Air Force has a duty to treat people fairly and without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin or sexual orientation and met that duty by having a more senior officer sign the certificate.”


The Air Force had initially ruled last year Bohannon, a Christian, discriminated against the subordinate airman based on sexual orientation. The ruling called for him to be suspended and passed over for promotion.

The airman under Bohannon’s command was retiring and as part of the typical military retirement ceremony Bohannon was to sign a variety of awards, gifts and honors, according to the First Liberty Institute, which has advocated on the colonel’s behalf.

“But when the Air Force presented a certificate of spouse appreciation—an optional, unofficial certificate, similar to a bouquet of flowers —to Col. Bohannon, his sincerely held religious beliefs prevented him from signing it because doing so would signify his personal endorsement of the same-sex marriage,” the institute wrote as part of the case summary on its website.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Col., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was among lawmakers who pressed the service months again to acknowledge Bohannon’s religious right to oppose same-sex marriage.

"The Air Force has sided with religious liberty in Col. Bohannon's case in a huge victory for our military and a reaffirmation of the First Amendment,” Lamborn said in a released statement. 



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