US Passes Defence Bill With Antigay Amendments


Many see news that the House of Representatives approved its version of the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act with three controversial, antigay amendments, purely as an attempt to delay, halt or make disappear the implementation of "don’t ask, don’t tell."

The bill which passed yesterday, has three amendments, which were all opposed by the Obama administration, require the four service branch chiefs to sign off on DADT repeal, affirm that the Defence of Marriage Act applies to Defence Department policies, and prohibit weddings for same-sex couples at military facilities.  It also prevents military chaplains from performing such weddings in their official capacity. The House version of the defence authorization bill was approved by a 322 to 96 vote.

In a Tuesday statement of policy, the White House objected to any legislative attempt to delay repeal of DADT, which would "create uncertainty for service members and their families," according to the statement. 

Service members United executive director Alexander Nicholson issued the following statement on passage of the House bill:

"The passage of the defence authorization bill with these hostile amendments included comes as no surprise, and it should not become a cause for concern as long as our allies in the Senate and the President all stand strong and refuse to support a defence bill containing these amendments," Nicholson said. "These amendments were nothing short of a waste of time by lawmakers who were sent to Washington to do serious business and a waste of taxpayer money. The Pentagon, the President, and the American people have made it abundantly clear — we are moving forward and building a stronger military free of unnecessary discrimination."

Aubrey Saris, executive director of Service members Legal Defence Network, said via the organization’s website that the amendment offered by Rep. Todd Akin to prohibit on-base weddings for same-sex couples is "a dangerous proposition" that would restrict "the religious liberties of chaplains and service members."
"We must look to repeal supporters in the Senate, where the defence bill will be taken up next and where we are better positioned than in the House," Saris said. "We need to beat back this harmful language and make sure it does not survive in conference committee."

Source – Advocate

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