FT. WORTH, Tex. — A Los Angeles-based denomination with a predominantly homosexual membership is pressing the Department of Defense for chaplains in all branches of the military and threatening court action if the request is denied.
The Rev. Troy Perry, founder and president of the 27,000-member Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, said Thursday that his church has applied to the Defense Department for recognition as a religious body, the first step toward assigning chaplains.
Although U.S. military policy bans homosexuals, it is well documented that thousands of homosexuals are in the services. A report issued by the Pentagon in mid-June said the military discharges an average of 1,500 homosexuals every year.
Perry said homosexuals in the military need chaplains from the Metropolitan Fellowship to speak to their needs.
If the military refuses to assign chaplains from the denomination, Perry said, the church will call upon several attorneys who have offered their services free. "We are prepared to take it to the Supreme Court if necessary," he said.