Chaplain quits Southern Baptists over same-sex rite

A long-serving Air Force chaplain has left the Southern Baptist Convention after the conservative denomination publicly questioned his decision to attend a same-sex civil union ceremony at his base in New Jersey.

The chaplain, Col. Timothy Wagoner, is remaining on active duty and has received an endorsement from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which holds more moderate views on homosexuality and some other issues than the Southern Baptists.

Wagoner's switch is a direct fallout from the repeal a year ago of the "don't ask, don't tell' policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Gays are now able to be open about their relationships, and same-sex civil union and marriage ceremonies can take place at military installations if they are legal under state law.