WASHINGTON, DC, July 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the military prepares for the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy to go into effect, the House of Representatives passed an amendment last Friday prohibiting same sex “weddings” from taking place on military bases.
On the same day the Pentagon issued an order initiating the repeal of Don’t Ask, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The armed services were ordered to begin admitting service members “without regard to sexual orientation.”
The House amendment, introduced by Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, also blocks funds for training chaplains on implementation of the new policy. It was added to the 2012 Department of Defense authorization bill by a vote of 236 – 184.
Huelskamp was one of 63 members of the House who signed a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus after the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains announced that same-sex “weddings” would be permitted in naval chapels located in states where same-sex “marriage” is legal.
“Offering up federal facilities and federal employees for same-sex marriages violated DOMA, which is still the law of the land and binds our military, including chaplains,” read the letter. “The Administration and various states may be operating as if DOMA doesn’t exist, but the Navy and the Marine Corps and all the Armed Services are sworn to obey the law, which this new instruction violates.”
The Navy reversed its decision in early May, but lawmakers and religious leaders have continued to express concern that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would threaten the religious freedom of military chaplains and service members.
In a June 1st statement, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services called the implications of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal “enormous and overwhelming,” and expressed concern that it would result in “sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals.”
Arguing on the House floor in favor of his amendment, Huelskamp raised similar concerns.
“Military chaplains would fall into jeopardy if the Navy decides to enforce its referral policy in which any chaplain declining to perform a same-sex wedding would be required to find someone who would perform the wedding,” he said. “I fear that chaplains who refuse to perform these ceremonies may find themselves under attack and their careers threatened.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, however, called the amendment “micromanagement,” claiming that it was “a transparent attempt to interfere with the repeal of DADT in any way possible.”
The $649 billion spending bill containing Huelskamp’s amendment was passed by the House later on Friday in a strong bipartisan vote of 336-87. However, the amendment will have to be approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate, which will pass its own version of the bill.