Liberty Institute Defends 19-Year Air Force Veteran Relieved Of His Duties By Openly Gay Commander For Believing In Traditional Marriage

Aug 15, 2013, 12:57 ET from Liberty Institute

Attorneys Will Defend Monk's Religious Liberty Rights and Request His Position Be Reinstated

SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Liberty Institute has been retained by Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, a 19-year veteran of the Air Force, relieved of his duties after he disagreed with his openly gay commander who wanted to severely punish a subordinate Airman who expressed religious objections to homosexuality. Monk advised his commander to treat the altercation with the Airman as a learning experience on tolerance and diversity, and later was relieved of his duties and reassigned for admitting to his commander that he also has a moral objection to same-sex marriage.


Monk, an evangelical Christian, served as a First Sergeant at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio since 2011. He recently returned from a deployment and discovered he had a new commander, who is a lesbian.

"I was relieved of my position because I don't agree with my commander's position on gay marriage," said Monk. "We've been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy."  The commander also banned Monk from returning to the unit and he had to request permission to retrieve some of his personal items.

Air Force Instruction 1-1 states that commanders "must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion."

Liberty Institute Litigation Director Hiram Sasser said, "Are we going to have a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for Christians so we don't get harassed for our beliefs? Here's a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He shouldn't have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve."

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a national nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty's vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation's Founders. For information, visit

SOURCE Liberty Institute