The U.S. Army has quashed a lesbian soldier’s effort to have a Christian chaplain punished for refusing to allow her to participate in a marriage retreat he was leading.
Chaplain Scott Squires and his assistant, Kacie Griffin, according to his legal defender First Liberty Institute, spent several days trying to find a replacement teacher for the marriage retreat to accommodate the request.
Squires argued he couldn’t lead a seminar for a same-sex couple because the Army requires him to follow the standards of his endorsing religious group, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“We are grateful that the Army has rejected and abandoned these baseless charges,” said Mike Berry, deputy general counsel for First Liberty.
“The United States military is no place for anti-religious hostility against its own military chaplains. Chaplains like Scott Squires [and] do not have to give up their First Amendment rights in order to serve their fellow soldiers.”
The legal team said Friday the Army has rejected the findings of an investigation recommending “dereliction of duty” charges.
The complaint that triggered an investigation of Squires alleged he discriminated against a same-sex couple when he quickly rescheduled a marriage retreat his chaplain-endorsing agency forbids him from facilitating.
“I look forward to being able to focus on continuing my career serving my fellow soldiers,” said Squires in a statement released by his lawyers.
Only days ago, a military investigator doubled down on his condemnation of Squires.
The investigator had released the recommendation for punishment months ago, but when challenged by First Liberty Institute he was ordered to investigate more.
Then he released the same conclusion.
The dispute began when a soldier in a same-sex relationship demanded to participate in a “strong bonds” seminar Squires was scheduled to facilitate. She made the demand after the registration deadline had passed.
Squires wanted to help the soldier sign up for the next seminar, which was to be led by a chaplain who didn’t have the same restrictions.
Instead, the soldier insisted on attending Squires’ seminar. She raised such a ruckus, the seminar was rescheduled to accommodate her, depriving other soldiers who had registered of the opportunity to attend.