The White House has issued a statement objecting to a bill that would prohibit homosexual “weddings” from being performed on military bases and by chaplains who disagree with the homosexual lifestyle.
In a statement issued last week by the Obama administration, the Department of Management and Budget refuted portions of the proposed 2013 Defense Authorization Bill (HR 4310), which seek to protect chaplains from violating their conscience and to uphold marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Section 537, “Use of Military Installations as Sites for Marriage Ceremonies or Marriage-Like Ceremonies,” was introduced by Representative Steve Palazzo of Mississippi. On May 10th, after a late night argument in the House, the amendment was approved by legislators by a vote of 37-24.
A military installation or other property owned or rented by, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of, the Department of Defense may not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.
A similar provision, “Protection of Rights of Conscience,” was introduced by Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, and was approved the same week as the amendment proposed by Palazzo. It passed by a vote of 36-25.
The amendment provides:
No member of the Armed Forces may direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain…
While the House and Senate have been generally supportive of the bill and its sections pertaining to homosexual “marriage,” the Department of Management and Budget says the sections are “potentially harmful to good order and discipline.”
“The Administration strongly objects … because those provisions adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law,” it writes.
Regarding the amendment prohibiting homosexual “marriages” from being performed on military bases, it stated, “It would obligate DOD to deny Service members, retirees, and their family members access to facilities for religious ceremonies on the basis of sexual orientation, a troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation on religious liberty.”
It also objected to the provision that would grant conscience protections to military chaplains, stating that the amendment was “overbroad,” and that it “would prohibit all personnel-related actions based on certain religious and moral beliefs.” It’s general objection to the amendments in stating that they “inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry” also suggests that the Department believes that the protections granted to chaplains leaves no one to officiate the ceremonies.
The Department’s statement asks that Barack Obama veto the bill for these reasons and others.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agrees to an extent. She stated that forcing chaplains to perform same-sex ceremonies on military bases is a non-issue and that the safeguard is unnecessary.
“[I]t’s a fraud,” she stated. “Welcome to the world of manufactured crises. Here’s one.”
However, former Navy chaplain James Klingenschmitt says that many military chaplains are placed in compromising situations and need relief.
“There are dozens of active duty chaplains who have been pressured to not speak against homosexuality,” Klingenschmitt explained. “I know of one Army and one Navy chaplain who have already resigned. Another active duty chaplain has been silenced, threatened and punished against speaking against ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ What they are saying is simply false.”
Representative Palazzo argued that the provisions simply reinforce current laws concerning marriage, including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“The administration’s recent actions have created uncertainty regarding ceremonies permitted on military installations,” Palazzo, a Persian Gulf war veteran, declared. “This amendment is intended to clear up any doubt and reinforce DOMA’s authority as it applies to those installations.”
DOMA was signed into law in 1996 by Bill Clinton, and outlined that only unions between a man and a woman will be recognized as a marriage by the federal government. Today, Clinton is supportive of the homosexual lifestyle. He recently recorded robocalls in an attempt to defeat North Carolina’s effort to enshrine heterosexual marriage in its state constitution.
Palazzo explained that because military bases are on federal property, they already are under DOMA’s jurisdiction.
“The Defense of Marriage Act was clear in defining marriage for purposes of the federal government,” Palazzo said. “This amendment does nothing else but clarify for the Department of Defense that this standard should be upheld on military bases.”
Akin agrees, stating that he believes that the Obama administration seeks to “use the military as a campaign prop to advance the liberal agenda.”
“Whatever Obama’s views may be, I find it appalling that he would so blatantly use the military for political cover on this controversial issue,” he opined. “Our sons and daughters don’t volunteer for the military to be used to promote a political agenda.”
Since Obama has not made personal statements about the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill, it is not known if he will sign or veto the bill when it hits his desk. However, considering his recent announcement that he believes that homosexuals should be able to “marry,” it is likely that the bill will be at least present a challenge to the president.