- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Army enlistee who supports the federal Defense of Marriage Act received a promotion amid Chick-fil-A’s cultural battle over same-sex marriage, so he served food from the restaurant at his celebration party as sign of support — and was promptly punished by his military superiors.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman, was at the heart of the Chick-fil-A controversy last June after the restaurant’s CEO touted traditional, biblical views of marriage.

Gay activists around the nation participated in a boycott of the restaurant, while free speech supporters and traditional marriage advocates launched their own “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in response.

The unnamed soldier was promoted to master sergeant about that time and decided to hold a double-themed party, Fox News reported.

His invitation stated: “In honor of my promotion and in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at my promotion party.”

Backlash from military officials was swift. He received a letter of reprimand for combining his promotion with the pro-DOMA theme, was threatened with legal action and was rated poorly on his latest efficiency report, according to Fox News.

He has turned to Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty for assistance.

“They say he is no longer a team player and was not performing up to standards,” Chaplain Alliance executive director Ron Crews said. “This is just one little example of a case of a soldier just wanting to express his views and now he’s been jumped on by the military.”

The soldier’s story came to light in a letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that highlighted various Armed Services religious liberty issues, Fox News said.

Pentagon officials did not comment in the Fox News report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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