GOP Priorities: Stop Gays Marrying on Military Bases

House Republicans have yet again introduced legislation to ban same-sex marriages on military bases and stop anti-gay chaplains from being discriminated against, despite no evidence of the latter ever having occurred.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Tim Huselkamp (R-Kansas), aims to amend the military code to supposedly protect the “rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains.”

The legislation, H.R. 914 or the “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act,” states:

A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to require that implementation of the repeal of the former Department of Defense policy concerning homosexual behavior in the Armed Forces not infringe upon the free exercise of religion by and the rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces, including chaplains, and for other purposes.

The legislation goes on to set out a special right to object that goes far beyond any reasonable religious accommodation and seems to give those in the military who are opposed to gay rights, and especially chaplains, an almost unfettered right to proselytize free from censure supposedly because it is their “religious right.”

Section 3 of the legislation then whacks down a ban on gay people getting married on military bases but, unlike previous attempts, it goes to no lengths to try to pretend that the Defense of Marriage Act requires such a ban (a notion that has been soundly rebutted) and instead just calls for what seems to amount to a military DOMA:

A military installation or other property owned, rented, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of the Department of Defense shall 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.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has previously attempted a similar ban himself, is co-sponsor to the bill. Other familiar names include Reps. Tim Walberg (Mich.) and Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), to name just a few.

Rep. Huselkamp has an established history of anti-gay rhetoric. Most recently he told Family Research Council host Tony Perkins shortly before the State of the Union speech (12 February) that Obama was aiming to “destroy the family” by backing marriage equality, saying:

This President has a radical social agenda and the media will probably give him a pass when instead of talking about the fact that mom and dad don’t have a job we’re going to talk about how to destroy the family and replace it with his view of a radical new social agenda. Someone has to stand up and defend the seventy percent position that most Americans support traditional marriage, most Americans understand the value of family, they understand it’s under attack and they understand that, they see it, they believe it. So we got to stand up.

Huselkamp is pulling polling figures from the 90s, apparently.

“This proposal needs to be seen for what it is – a naked attempt to undermine DADT repeal and open service by green lighting discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual service members,” ACLU Legislative Representative Ian Thompson told Metro Weekly. “Given the acknowledged success of the transition to open service, including from the uniformed military leadership, this legislation could not be more ill-timed or ill-advised.”

As noted above, this isn’t the first time such an attempt has been made under the guise of “protecting” religious freedom. Indeed, on several occasions in the past two years House Republicans have attached such provisions to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Last year Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was successful in getting his so-called conscience clause legislation into the final version of the NDAA bill. The clause, heavily watered down from its initial wording, said that no chaplain could be forced to perform a same-sex marriage, this despite the fact that the Pentagon had previously and repeatedly stated that, per existing law, this was already the case.

The clause even prompted President Obama to issue a strong rebuke on signing the legislation, saying: “Section 533 is an unnecessary and ill-advised provision, as the military already appropriately protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains and service members. … My Administration remains fully committed to continuing the successful implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and to protecting the rights of gay and lesbian service members; Section 533 will not alter that.”

Huselkamp’s legislation would appear destined for another ride on the NDAA’s coattails, however it is likely that the Senate will once again be able to strip out most if not all of the anti-gay provisions.

Yet, this stands as a sad commentary on the priorities of certain House Republicans.


Related Reading:

Bill to Ban Gay Marriage on Military Bases Introduced

House Passes ‘Gays Can’t Marry on Military Bases’ Amendment

Success! A Special Valentine for Military Same-Sex Partners


Image Credit: Thinkstock.


Michele H.
Michele H4 years ago

Gay marriage should be illegal period but to allow gays in the military(openly) and to allow gay marriage to occur on military bases is just making a mockery out of our military. Our military is becoming an unprofessional joke. I know MANY MANY veterans, including my husband, who say there is no way in Hell they would join now and some are ashamed of what our country has become in reference to gays and homosexuality. They say there is no way in the world they would do the things they had to do knowing their "next door neighbor" is gay. They say the would never trust them with their lives, they will never really be in the "brotherhood" and they sure wouldn't get naked in front of them. I don't blame them. The military has now had a surge of homosexuals enlisting BUT a HUGE drop in straight enlistments and re-enlistments. I hope they never allow it!

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon4 years ago

This should be tossed into the same trash bin with so many other GOP priorities.

Kim W.
Kim W4 years ago

Our GOP is wasting time and money on something most have no need to be involved in. If your religion prevents gay marriage, then so be it. But, humans are humans and gays have been part of our society for the entire time. It is so stupid for our GOP to be giving this a priority when our country's economic stability is gone.

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Christopher M... I see you're on a roll !!!......I stopped reading after 4 or 5 posts because it was too hard to tie together your thought process.....if you had one.....all about gays, masturbation, and ???

Dale O.

Charlene R you ask quite logically: "How can the GOP talk about preventing people from doing what they believe is right, and in the same sentence, telling us that they want government out of their lives?"

Easy, refer to George Orwell's 1984 and the concept of Doublethink:

"Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.It is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Its opposite is cognitive dissonance, where the two beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is an integral concept of George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word doublethink is part of Newspeak."

Good point about cousins, Sandra L.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

How can the GOP talk about preventing people from doing what they believe is right, and in the same sentence, telling us that they want government out of their lives?

Sandra L.
Sandra L4 years ago

Lyn If the purpose and protection of " marriage’s intrinsic connection to procreation and children" is your reason to deny same gender marriage, why is it legal for cousins to marry in many states with restrictions demanding that it NOT be a reproducing union?

Dale O.

Lyn L...subversion? Somehow, two married men or two married women is not going to prevent a married man and woman from conceiving and having children. A gold standard for children are loving parents raising their children in a loving home, providing for them, educating them, teaching tolerance and respect for others.

Joe A, are you in the right century? Was Dr. Who travelling in his time machine and you somehow sneaked inside and landed in this century? Prehistoric rocks in aisle 19 ~ Nineteenth Century.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.4 years ago

Fortunately, other Christians usually tolerate infertile or aged men and women getting married. And if a male husband and a female wife want mutual masturbation, it is their God given right.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.4 years ago

It is interesting what a Catholic ex of mine called contracepted sex. She equated it to mutual masturbation. Contraception, sterilization, and gay marriage seem to bother the Catholics for the same reason, no kids. You have to run the risk of pregnancy every time you have sex (there is an ever present small risk of pregnancy no matter when).

They want to give life a chance at every go.