Col. Timothy Wagoner, a chaplain in the
Air Force, has quit the Southern Baptist Convention following a
controversy over his attendance at a gay civil union ceremony.
Wagoner severed ties with the
denomination and joined the more progressive Cooperative Baptist
“I find very little that is more
important and nothing that is more exhilarating than providing for
the religious freedoms and spiritual care of all service members and
their families – and will joyfully continue to do,” Wagoner told
Wagoner attended the civil union
ceremony of Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and Will Behrens at Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Wrightstown, New Jersey late last month.
The ceremony is considered the first to be held on a military base
since repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the law which for 18
years banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.
Kay Reeb, a Navy chaplain with the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who also serves at Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, presided over the ceremony. She said she was
delighted to participate in her first civil union.
Also in attendance was former Marine
Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who lobbied Congress for repeal of the gay ban.
Wagoner exited the Southern Baptist
Convention after the denomination publicly questioned his decision to
attend the ceremony.