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Anti-Gay Right Trying To Hype Case Of National Guardsman Layne Wilson

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds. — Future Senator Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1946

The official emblem of State Headquarters, Uta...

The official emblem of State Headquarters, Utah Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

[Editor's Note: there has been further crucial information unearthed in our investigation into this situation. Please read the followup article here.]

Wilson was reprimanded after he wrote a letter objecting to a wedding in the West Point chapel, and then informed that he should prepare for retirement. Wilson had been in the Air National Guard for 27 years.

Back in December, Wilson wrote a letter to the chaplain at West Point objecting to the wedding ceremony held there for Sue Fulton and her Penelope Dara Gnesin. At least, we presume as much as that was the only same-sex wedding at the West Point chapel to make headline news. And, indeed, that wedding took place in December.

Wilson whined that “This is wrong on so many levels. If they wanted to get married in a hotel that is one thing. Our base chapels are a place of worship and this is a mockery to God and our military core values. I have proudly served 27 years and this is a slap in the face to us who have put our lives on the line for this country. I hope sir that you will take appropriate action so this does not happen again.”

Wilson is suing to be let back into the military on a six-year reenlistment contract.

Wilson’s attorney John Wells claims that “The military is trying to make examples of people who have religious beliefs that homosexual conduct in the military is wrong. The end game is to force conservative Christians out of the military.” He also claims that Wilson was supposedly simply reporting “what he believed was a violation of the law” given that the Defense of Marriage Act was still in place.

Maybe the drummed Wilson out of the Air Guard for being too stupid to read given that the government had made it quite clear that the chapels in states where same-sex marriages were legal could be used for such wedding ceremonies. In the end, Wilson was given a one year extension on his contract and then let go.

Furthermore, chapels are suppose to be non-denominational on the basis that all faiths must use them, not just Evangelical Christians. In writing this letter, Wilson was not only disrespecting an officer- namely the Chaplain at West Point, but also disrespecting the religious rights of his fellow soldiers, some of whom belong to religious that allow for same-sex marriages.

After Wilson’s email was received, the chaplain forwarded it to the Commandant of Cadets who then notified the Utah Air National Guard which felt that Wilson’s actions were disgraceful and a discredit to their unit. The Air National Guard stated that Wilson’s email “failed to render the proper respect to a commissioned officer.” Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Tobias informed Wilson that “You are hereby reprimanded. As a noncommissioned officer you are expected to maintain a standard of professional and personal behavior that is above reproach. You have failed!”

At specific issue is the statement “slap in the face”. With that statement, Wilson condemned himself with such language and how hostile the letter is to the chaplain and to retired Army Captain Sue Fulton.

Tobias tried to give Wilson some help. According to Tobias “We talked about his feelings about DADT and how he doesn’t agree with it. I then told him that maybe this is a good time for him to move on because we’ve been ordered to not have an opinion about Gays in the military and we need to treat them as we would treat anyone else in the service of our country.”

Tobias went on to say that “I also reiterated that I respect his feelings but I’m not comfortable reenlisting him with his strong feelings about this matter.”

Colonel Ronald Blunck backed Tobias up saying that “Your right to practice your religious beliefs does not excuse you from complying with directives, instructions and lawful orders. Lt. Col. Tobias is correct in demanding that TSgt. Wilson refrain from expressing opinions contrary to Air Force guidance while in uniform. The Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was directed by law.”

So, basically, despite Wilson’s claims that “Due to the fact that I expressed my views on homosexuality in uniform; Lt. Col. Tobias stated that I was no longer compatible with further military service,” the reality is that Wilson was drummed out of the corps for being unable to comply with the laws governing the military.

Wilson objected to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell saying that it is “very disturbing” and “conflicting with my moral rights of conscience”. HE also said that “My issue is so much about homosexuals serving in the military, but rather that it is being forced upon as an acceptable lifestyle abandoning our traditional values. . .It is evident those who refuse to affirm homosexuality and openly oppose it are being severely punished.”

Wilson is suing in order to have his six-year contract reinstated. Wells claims that Wilson’s “actions were proper within the scope of the Uniform Code and the Manual for Courts-Martial. While his interpretation of the law may or may not have been correct, his actions should not have given rise to the firestorm of reprisals that he has suffered.”

Wells also said that the military is “trying to make examples of people early on who have religious beliefs that homosexual conduct in the military is wrong. When these people assert their First Amendment rights, they are getting slapped down and slapped down hard.”

The problem for Wells and Wilson is that his actions were not within the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and once that first reprimand was in place, the military had every right to drum Wilson out of the corps.

Perhaps Wilson should take a page from the life of the late Senator Robert C. Byrd. In the years following the desegregation of the military and six years after he wrote the words at the top of the page, Byrd let his membership in the Ku Klux Klan lapse. He walked away from the KKK because he was beginning to feel that his own racism was wrong. He spent a lifetime regretting the bigotry of his youth.

But at least he walked away from it young. Unlike the late Senator Strom Thurmond.

Of course, this whole thing is being brought to us by Todd Starnes, the beloved FOX News voice of homophobic bigotry. Starnes loves to twist the facts of the story so that it sounds like the bigots are being discriminated against. In fact, go here to read just how disjointed and twisted he had to set the facts of this story up to be in order to make people think that there was something wrong done by the military.

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6 Responses to Anti-Gay Right Trying To Hype Case Of National Guardsman Layne Wilson

  1. Zack

    July 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Do you have sources for this story? I want to use some of the information you used (namely about disrespecting an officer) but I feel that my (evangelical) family would see the name of the site (lezgetreal) and reject it based on that alone.
    Thanks,
    Zack

    • Lez Get Real

      July 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Article 89—Disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer

      Text.

      “Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

      Elements.

      (1) That the accused did or omitted certain acts or used certain language to or concerning a certain commissioned officer;

      (2) That such behavior or language was directed toward that officer;

      (3) That the officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the superior commissioned officer of the accused;

      (4) That the accused then knew that the commissioned officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the accused’s superior commissioned officer; and

      (5) That, under the circumstances, the behavior or language was disrespectful to that commissioned officer.

  2. Paul Sellers

    July 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I am certain that author Bridgette LaVictorie and her “life partner” are quite content bashing Christian and their equal right to First Amendment expressions. It seems as though we have released the GLBT folks from the closet and are shoving those with differing life styles into the closet. God save our nation and our people.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Oh deary, deary me…first of all, I’m single. Secondly, Mr. Sellers, in the military, your rights to Free Speech and Free Practice of Religion are restricted to a certain degree. Tech Sargent Wilson violated that with his little hissy fit. Thirdly, the First Amendment does not shield you from having your views criticized by private citizens. All it means is that the government cannot restrict (within very limited parameters) your right of free expression. Your fellow citizens can criticize and bash your statements all they want. Finally, I live by a bit of wisdom I learned from author Terry Pratchett “no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”

      You Christians, including Tech Sargent Wilson, are free to say whatever you want…just you have to take the consequences that go along with saying whatever you want.

  3. Lily K

    July 12, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Disrespecting a superior officer is grounds for punishment. Presumably arguing about punishment after that was grounds for dismissal. So it was almost certainly within the allowed limits of law to dismiss him, whether he deserved a second chance depends on other facts.

  4. Jim

    July 12, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Without knowing more about the conversation he had with Tobias i’m not sure he should have been dismissed.

    The letter alone is political speech that was address to an official and not to the wedded couple as harassment.