The Salvation Army has struggled to distance itself from its reputation for homophobia, but a 2014 memo on "LGBT issues" by midwest Commissioner Paul Seiler spells out a number of ways in which the organization discriminates against LGBT employees.
The Salvation Army's "theology of marriage" says that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and that marriage is between "between one man and one woman," which makes all LGBT sinful, by definition. The Salvation Army prohibits its officers from having gay sex, from officiating same-sex marriages, and from attending same-sex marriages in uniform, all on penalty of termination.
The Salvation Army defends itself by saying that although it discriminates against LGBT people within its ranks (because of its "theology of marriage") it doesn't discriminate against LGBT in its public service work (because of its "theology of service").
This is a fine hair to split, and these theological nuances are not present in the Salvation Army's public pronouncements (and fundraising pitches), which state:
The Salvation Army does not believe that homosexual orientation is a sin.
We emphatically reject accusations of discrimination based on sexual orientation; claims to the contrary are false.
We simply do not discriminate against the people we serve or hire. Our doors are open to all.
We serve and hire all people without discrimination.
At least some of those claims are materially false.
Insisting that LGBT officers remain unmarried and refrain from “expressing their sexualities” is, by definition, discriminatory. But SA goes even further, requiring that officers distance themselves from same-sex weddings but not opposite-sex weddings.
The SA may claim it “serves 30 million people a year without discrimination,” and that may be true, but it doesn’t address the issue of how the organization treats its LGBT officers (a.k.a. those doing the serving). They remain marginalized.
To be clear: We’re not trying to argue with the Salvation Army’s theological views. It can believe what it wants to believe. The problem is, these beliefs, which are shared privately among SA insiders, are at direct odds with the organization’s public message, which states, in blanket terms, that it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.