Three Sikh soldiers petitioned the US Marines to exempt them from the requirement to shave their beards because beards are an integral part of their religion. He won his case in court.
A US federal court on Friday ruled that US Marines should allow Sikh recruits to wear beards and turbans in accordance with their religious beliefs. The court said that they should be allowed to express their religious beliefs as it does not affect their responsibilities.
A federal appeals court judge for the District of Columbia was hearing a petition filed by three Sikh US Marines. He requested that he be exempted from Marine Corps regulations on shaving beards and haircuts.
The three Sikh youths had passed the Marines’ exams last year, but during basic military training they were asked to renounce their religious beliefs and follow the rules set by the Marines, after which they knocked on the court’s door.
Eric Baxter, a lawyer for the petitioners, expressed his reaction to the court’s order, saying, “Today’s court order is a major victory for Sikh soldiers, who can now begin basic military training without compromising their faith.” are.” The religious requirements of Sikhism are taken care of in the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
Why did the US Marines object?
The court wrote in its ruling that the Marines’ leadership had argued that uniformity was essential to a “team mentality” and that soldiers must follow “regiment-defined rules” to create cohesion.
According to court documents, the Marines argued that instilling a sense of shared sacrifice and team spirit among soldiers required them to “de-individualize” them as part of a “psychological transformation.”
The court rejected the argument
The federal court rejected the Marines’ argument, saying the benefit being claimed appeared to be “grossly disconnected” from the Corps’ own leadership recruitment process. The Marine Corps is part of the US Navy and many of its officers receive training at the Naval Academy. In its remarks, the court said that the Naval Academy allowed beards and religious symbols to be worn.
The judges added that the Marine Corps also allows women to have their own hairstyles and to some extent tattoos on their bodies, which in the court’s view is “an ideal expression of individual identity.” Judge Patricia Millett wrote in her ruling that if there is a need for unit cohesion during Marine training, it can be accomplished in certain other ways.
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