Congress Drops Anti-Gay Amendments to NDAA


The conference committee charged with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012  have according to reports dropped two anti-gay amendments added by legislators in the U.S. House.

The amendments, offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and specifically banning military chaplains’ participation in same-gender marriage ceremonies and blocking military facilities from being used for same-sex weddings.

However, one amendment by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) remains in the final bill. This restates current law and says that no military chaplain can or will be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage in a state where same-sex marriages are legal.

Also language that would have repealed Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that bans sodomy. This repeal is not included in the reconciled bill.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the non-partisan legal group for LGBT servicemembers, registered in a statement that overall they are pleased with the committee’s reconciled NDAA:

“We congratulate the House and Senate conference committee for having struck the correct balance on the chaplains provisions. Clearly, there was no place for the restrictive Akin language as the Defense Department continues to move forward on effective implementation of open service in our military. This report demonstrates that a majority in Congress remains committed to, and in lock step with the Pentagon, in ensuring that we stay on the repeal course adopted by the last Congress and signed off on by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. There was no back tracking in the conference report on this front.

“Additionally, our initial reading of the committee’s decision to update the provisions for rape and sexual assault in Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is also positive.

The group notes its disappointment, however, that there will be no action on Article 125:

“However, we are very disappointed that the conferees voted to keep the sodomy provisions in Article 125. Dropping Article 125 has been recommended for more than a decade by SLDN and several groups, including the Cox Commission that includes distinguished legal scholars from the military and academia, as well as the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG). The Senate was right to take this action, and it is unfortunate that their attempt to end Article 125 did not prevail. SLDN will continue to work with the Senate, House, and Department of Defense to bring about this needed change.”

The House and Senate must now approve the final bill before it heads to the president’s desk.

Related Reading:

Pentagon: Chaplains Can Perform Same-Sex Marriages

Activists Threaten Legal Action if Senate Drops Anti-Gay Amendments to Defense Budget

GOP Reps Back Resolution to Condemn Obama’s DOMA Decision

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.


Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

What's a good bill without a little hate and discrimination written into it. Anyone who cannot and will not perform his job for any reason should find another employer or be fired!

Mitch D.
Mitch D6 years ago

Using the Bible as a weapon of discrimination is tired! Aren't there truly important issues that should be tackled!?? Douglas M. - your comments are pathetic. I for one am sick of being the target of the bible.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin6 years ago

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

Homophobes (aka Anti-Gay Movement) are not protesting against bestiality, pedophilia (with/without a priest involved), rape, sexual exploitation, or any other form of non-consensual sexual act in which a victim is forced against their will to participate

The Homophobes are protesting a private sexual act being performed by two consenting adults.


Homosexuals = fighting for the right to control their own behavior.

Homophobes = fighting for the right to control other peoples behavior.

Douglas M.
Douglas M.6 years ago

Well, I'm sorry you can't handle any truth.
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

noted-thanks Steve

Tom Pearce
Tom Pearce6 years ago

Marriage laws are federal laws, not state laws. If DOMA can be passed by the federal government, then why does same sex marriage have to be done state by state? Its just a ploy to take away power from the people since fewer people vote in state elections! The argument for smaller government is intended to do the same! All lies from the republicans.

Mary L.
Mary L6 years ago

One piece of stupidity down, many, many more to go. Why the Dems aren't talking about Republican earmarks is beyond me.

Nicola P.
Erica S6 years ago

A step forward in the right direction. Hopefully, we won't be taking any steps back.

Wayne M.
Wayne M6 years ago

As a Gay Man and Christian, I have no problem with an amendment that allows any clergy person whether in or out of the military to decline to officiate at a same-sex marriage provided that clergy who do wish to officiate at same-sex weddings are permitted to do so and that civil marriage commissioners are required to do their jobs and marry any couple that comes before them.

Churches must be free do act in accord with their beliefs, but cannot be allowed to impose those beliefs in civil law. Respect for LGBT rights also includes a respect for religious rights. I choose to belong to a Christian church that respects LGBT rights and people.

Danielle K.
Danielle K6 years ago

I have no problem with the amendment that would not force a chaplain to officiate a marriage; after all, a civilian clergy person would not have to officiate a marriage, whether it's a straight marriage or same-sex marriage. As long as a couple has a legal option to marry and can have a judge officiate, I'm fine.

I have a big problem with *banning* a chaplain from performing the ceremony, even if s/he is willing, and I am glad that amendment was dropped.