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(c) by Mary Griggs

A few days ago, a same sex union was performed by an Army chaplain at Fort Polk in Leesville, Louisiana. In response, Representative John Fleming (R-LA) made a statement decrying this religious ceremony as a ‘liberal social experiment.’

John Fleming couldn’t be more wrong to advocate for legislation to prevent military facilities from being used for same-sex marriages or marriage-like ceremonies.

No-one was forced to attend or participate in this private ceremony. Two people came together, before God and their friends and family to unite as one. Strong families help make a strong military but people like John Fleming want to force LGBT service members off base.

We say we support our troops and that means we need to support all our troops and their families equally. Coming together in celebration of the commitment of two loving partners will not negatively impact military readiness. It can only enhance a service members ability to perform their duty.

When Congress repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ it meant that our gay and lesbian service members could serve openly. Unfortunately, with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, they are not able to serve equally. Because of DOMA, legally married gay and lesbian couples are denied more than 1,100 federal responsibilities and protections, including access to military insurance programs, Social Security survivors benefits, equal treatment under U.S. immigration laws, and the opportunity to take leave to care for a spouse.

On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people are, on average, better-off than otherwise similar singles. Marriage works by fostering commitment, trust, fidelity and cooperation between the partners. The right of adults to enter into consensual marriage is enshrined in international human rights standards. We are asking our service members to give their all to defend our rights and it is wrong to refuse them this right.

Honor our patriots! Don’t let the John Fleming’s of the world create two classes of married service members within the military. Right now, there are those who receive support and benefits for their families and those who do not and that is unfair. Don’t compound discrimination by allowing religious extremists to pass judgement on who will have their marriages and unions celebrated and who will not.

Send an email to your Senator today asking them to oppose any measures to codify discrimination against LGBT service members and to demand the repeal of DOMA. Find your Senator by clicking this link: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm