Stars & Stripes reports:
The Air Force has affirmed the religious rights of a colonel who claimed he was wrongly disciplined for refusing to sign a certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of one of his airmen last year. The Air Force said that Col. Leland Bohannon “had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate,” according to a letter sent Monday by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to members of Congress who supported Bohannon.
A 1994 Air Force Academy graduate and decorated combat pilot, Bohannon had been stripped of command of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and removed from consideration for a promotion to brigadier general after the Air Force found his actions violated service regulations. While Bohannon readily signed each document for the retiring airman, he chose not to sign the “optional, unofficial” spouse appreciation certificate “similar to a bouquet of flowers,” the appeal letter said.
The colonel believed that doing so would “signify his personal endorsement of the same-sex marriage,” which conflicted with his religious beliefs, First Liberty said. At least eight Republican senators, including former presidential candidates Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, sent a letter to Wilson asking that the decision against Bohannon be reversed.
Tony Perkins celebrates via press release:
As most service members understand all too well, religious hostility in the military didn’t disappear when Barack Obama did. President Trump has had to walk a long and determined road to weed out the bureaucrats still loyal to the intolerance of the last administration. And thankfully, he has leaders like Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to help him do it.
For our friends at First Liberty Institute, who represented Bohannon, it was cause to celebrate – not just for this colonel, but for the thousands of men and women who are witnessing this president’s commitment to religious liberty.
“This is clear evidence that the Trump administration is helping to right the ship at the Pentagon,” attorney Hiram Sasser told Fox News’s Todd Starnes. No one should be forced to check their faith at the base’s gates.
A coalition of anti-LGBT hate groups including the American Family Association and the Family Research Council had deluged the Air Force with tens of thousands of petitions on Bohannon’s behalf.