Last week, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer urged the government to stop the use of military facilities for same-sex commitment and marriage ceremonies after a military chaplain at Fort Polk, a training base in Louisiana, performed a commitment ceremony at a chapel between a female service member and her civilian partner. Following Fischer’s tirade, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) appeared on the AFA radio show Today’s Issues with AFA president Tim Wildmon and Family Research Council head Tony Perkins to denounce the ceremony. In a statement, the congressman decried the ceremony as part of a “liberal social experiment” and urged Congress to approve “legislation that prevents military facilities from being used for same-sex marriages or marriage-like ceremonies.”
Fleming told Wildmon and Perkins that the commitment ceremony and the ensuing attention it received, which was primarily coming from conservative detractors, was a distraction that undermined the “oath to protect our nation.” He said that the chaplain and the couple acted in a “rogue state” and tried to “push their own personal agenda using U.S. military facilities.” Later, Fleming said that the occasion was part of a larger attempt to “create a normative acceptance of something that really is not part of our customs or culture”:
Instead of training our young men and women to be ready for battle, they’re having to deal with this stuff, and I think that that is first and foremost the wrong venue to have any type of protest or mock ceremonies. I don’t think that—you know, my responsibility as a member of Congress is first speak to it that we protect our nation with a common defense, that’s a Constitutional requirement for me, and certainly those members who’ve sworn an oath to protect our nation and put their lives on the line. And yet we have this couple and this chaplain who went off on their own, in kind of a rogue state to do something, to push their own personal agenda using U.S. military facilities, so that is my first objection to this.
You know the second part of this is, this is really propagating an agenda, is to try to normalize or create a normative acceptance of something that really is not part of our customs or culture, for the most part certainly, if you understand that most states do have some sort of ban on same-sex marriage, very few actually accept it, again this is using military facilities to create a normative behavior.