The U.S. Air Force has reversed a decision to punish a colonel who refused to celebrate same-sex “marriage” based on his biblical beliefs.
Col. Leland Bohannon had refused to sign a certificate of appreciation for the same-sex “spouse” of a retiring airman last year. As a result, he was stripped of command of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico and removed from consideration for brigadier general.
First Liberty Institute took up Bohannon’s case, and with help from members of Congress, it was able to get the matter reviewed. Its attorneys argued there is no right to a certificate of appreciation, and the government is required to protect Bohannon’s religious liberty.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson wrote to the members of Congress about the review board’s decision to grant Bohannon’s appeal:
“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 … Col. Bohannon met [his] duty by having a more senior officer sign the certificate.
“The Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all. The decision on appeal applied current Air Force policy and the law. It is an example of a situation in which protected, and potentially competing, interests must be carefully examined and resolved.
“The Air Force will ensure Col. Bohannon’s records are corrected in accordance with the final agency decision.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which actually works to secularize the military, decried the decision as a “poisonous distortion” of “basic civil rights.” The group’s leader, Mikey Weinstein, accused the Air Force of siding with “prejudice and bigotry.”
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