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Navy Plebes Top Greasy Obelisk In Annual Herndon Climb: VIDEO

Herndonclimb

Yesterday, the U.S. Naval Academy held its annual Herndon Monument Climb in which half-clothed Navy plebes attempt to a scale a greased up obelisk, known as the Herndon Monument, and land a cap atop its peak. 

You can watch videos of this year's climb, which was successfully completed in 1 hour, 38 minutes and 36 seconds, AFTER THE JUMP...

You can also revisit galleries of past Herndon climbs, herehereherehere, and here.

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First Federally Approved Monument For LGBT Veterans To Be Dedicated In Illinois: VIDEO

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The first federally approved monument honoring LGBT veterans will be dedicated later this month at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, reports the Windy City Times.

Spearheaded by Stanley J. Jenczyk, a junior board member of the Chicago chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the monument was approved late last year by the Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Undersecretary of Memorial Affairs.

Abraham-lincoln-national-cemetery-10307Jenczyk said:

“I've waited for four long years to see this monument for LGBT veterans come to fruition. This ceremony will be a fulfillment of America's promise of honoring all who have served in every branch of the military."

Chicago-AVER Vice President and Secretary James Darby added:

"This is the first monument for LGBT veterans created by LGBT veterans that will be dedicated at any cemetery in the National Veteran's Cemetery System. I never believed anything like this could've happened because we've been discriminated against for so long in many areas of life including the military with the now-defunct Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. This ceremony is going to be an incredibly emotional experience for all of us."

The monument will be inscribed with the words, "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have served honorably and admirably in America's armed forces. In their memory and appreciation of their selfless service and sacrifice, this monument was dedicated by Chicago Chapter American Veterans for Equal Rights 'AVER' (…with liberty and justice for all )."

The ceremony will take place at 2 pm on May 25th.

Watch a clip of the AVER Chicago 2014 annual Veterans Day Dinner, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last year, the design was revealed for a memorial to gay veterans in Congressional Cemetery's 'gay corner' on Capitol Hill.

Openly transgender individuals continue to be banned from serving in the military

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Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee Fantasize About The Military's Good Ol' DADT Days: VIDEO

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Low troop morale? Blame Obama and the gays. Christians leaving the military? Blame Obama and the gays. At least, that's your train of thought if your founts of wisdom come in the forms of former AFA spokeshater Bryan Fischer and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Right Wing Watch reports Huckabee, who today revealed he will announce his presidential plans in Hope, Arkansas on May 5, said in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that the Obama administration has “an open hostility toward the Christian faith,” and urged prospective military recruits to wait until the end of President Obama’s term to enlist.

He continued:

"When you have a president whose administration orders its chaplains to put its Bibles away, not to pray in Jesus name, not to counsel people on the issues of sexual morality; when you have this attitude that is more about promoting gay marriage and gay rights in the military than it is about being able to protect religious liberty for those people of faith, it’s going to be hard to find people that are truly devoted people of faith and Christian believers and Orthodox Jews and others.”

Fisher, meanwhile, made the baseless claim that reports of the military's low morale can be directly linked to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Said Fischer:

"The reason the morale is low in the military is because it's become a giant, social engineering laboratory and values that are absolutely contrary to the military ethos, to the military culture, are being forced on members of the military - crammed down their throats whether they like it or not." 

Hear the two wax nostalgically about a time when military men and women were forced to live a lie to serve our country, AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Texas National Guard Says If Gay Couples Were Denied Benefits, It Was A Mistake

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Three gay military couples allege that the Texas National Guard refused to process benefits for them last week.

However, a spokeswoman for Texas Military Forces, the official name for the state's National Guard, told Towleroad the organization's policy is to process benefits for all married couples. Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor said if the same-sex couples were turned away, it was a mistake.  

Back in 2013, the Texas National Guard agreed to begin processing benefits for married same-sex couples, after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the military to treat all married couples equally, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. Officials in Texas, Oklahoma and several other states had taken the position that processing the benefits applications from gay spouses would violate state laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages. 

The states eventually backed down under pressure from the Department of Defense and LGBT groups including Lambda Legal, which represented Alicia Butler and 1st Lt. Judith Chedville, above. However, the American Military Partner Association reported today that three same-sex couples were unable to sign up for benefits last week: 

On Friday, March 13, 2015, three same-sex military couples were denied assistance by the federal military identification card enrollment center at Camp Mabry, the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces, near Austin, Texas. All three couples were told by the center’s employee that they would not be provided service because their marriages were not recognized by the state of Texas, regardless of the fact they were seeking federal military benefits.

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) strongly condemned the blatant discrimination in a letter to the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Forces, Major General Berry, outlining the situation that occurred and calling for an immediate investigation and clarification.

AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack issued the following statement today: “We are disappointed and outraged over the humiliating and discriminatory treatment these military families endured while simply trying to enroll in the federal benefits to which they are entitled. This issue was raised and, we thought, resolved over a year ago when the Secretary of Defense had to direct the Texas forces to comply with military policy. It’s also further evidence of why sexual orientation should be protected under the Department of Defense non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program. No service member or military spouse should be treated this way.”

MacGregor, the National Guard spokeswoman, said officials received the group's letter this morning and were looking into the matter today.

"That is not our policy to not process," MacGregor said. "Clearly this has been a mistake that we're trying to clarify. If it happened, it was an error on our part. It was not intentional. That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of right now."

MacGregor said due to sequestration, the National Guard's benefits processing department has been reduced from six employees to one. The one remaining employee has had medical issues, so someone's been filling in for them. 

"Right now because of the cutbacks in our ID section, it has created problems with a lot of folks, honestly, not just same-sex couples," MacGregor said.  

Read the AMPA's full letter to General Berry, AFTER THE JUMP ...   

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Homophobic Navy Chaplain Facing Possible Discharge for Telling Student He Could 'Save' Gay People: VIDEO

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Pentecostal chaplain Lt. Comdr. Wesley Modder may be kicked out of the Navy because of his outspoken anti-gay religious beliefs, reports Military Times.

Modder was given a “detachment for cause” letter in February after it was decided he is "unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment" because of his intolerance towards gay people and premarital sex.

Currently based at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina, Modder is fighting the dismissal with attorneys from the anti-gay Liberty Institute.

The February letter cites several specific incidents in which the chaplain offered inappropriate counseling to sailors in the command.  Specifically, he told a female that she was "shaming herself in the eyes of god" for having premarital sex, told another student that homosexuality was wrong and that "the penis was meant for the vagina and not for the anus” and suggested to a student that he had the ability to "save" gay people.

A number of sailors filed equal opportunity complaints against Modder and commanders agreed that allowing vulnerable sailors to be counseled by him is "a recipe for tragedy.”

Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry said the effort to fire his client reflects a broader cultural change in the military:

"I think what we are seeing is a hostility to religious expression in the military now. What we're seeing is this new modern, pluralistic, Navy where service members are encouraged to be hypersensitive, especially about issues of faith, marriage and family."

Berry added that Modder admits his anti-gay opinions:

"[He] does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that...sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to Biblical teaching...homosexual behavior is contrary to Biblical teaching...and homosexual orientation or temptation, as distinct from conduct, is not sin.”

Watch an entirely biased Liberty Institute video, complete with end-times warnings, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Homophobic Navy Chaplain Facing Possible Discharge for Telling Student He Could 'Save' Gay People: VIDEO" »


U.S. Army Inches Closer to Opening the Door for Out Trans Troops

Army

An All-Army Activity, or ALARACT, notice distributed to U.S. field commanders on Friday stated that the power to initiate and finalize discharges of service members who are transgender has now been transferred from field commanders to the assistant secretary of the Army reports BuzzFeed.

Current Army policies state that transgender people are considered "administratively unfit" for military service. 

RobinsonAllyson Robinson, director of policy for the LGBT military advocacy organization SPARTA, applauded the slight change in direction, but conceded that more changes are needed for transgender service members to serve fully and comfortably without the looming threat of being discharged.

Said Robinson: 

"Today’s action by the Army helps over 6,000 transgender soldiers serving in silence. It also helps their commanders, who are increasingly stymied trying to apply 1970s medical policy to today’s Army.  

"While transgender service members welcome this step, they recognize it is only a stopgap measure aimed at making a failing policy fail less. What they and their commanders need is a comprehensive, Department-level policy review."

This step only affects the Army and doesn’t change the fact that transgender troops will continue to be discharged from the military under current Army policies. Pentagon Spokesperson Nate Christensen confirmed with BuzzFeed News in February that the Defense Department is conducting a "routine, periodic review of the Department’s medical accession policy," which are the medical standards for joining the military. However, Christensen noted that there is no specific review of the Department’s transgender policy, but that the review of the medical policy is broad.

Said Christensen: 

"We routinely review our policies to make sure they are accurate, up-to-date and reflect any necessary changes since the Department’s last policy review. The last review of this (medical policy) was conducted in 2011. The current periodic review is expected to take between 12-18 months; it is not a specific review of the Department’s transgender policy."

Defense Secretary Carter stated over the weekend that he's "very open-minded," with transgender service members openly serving in the military. "They can do what we need them to do for us...I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them," said Carter.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today that President Obama agrees with Carter and endorses his statements regarding the matter.


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