Tomorrow at 10 AM ET the mark-up of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will begin and there are amendments that will be offered that clearly show the Republicans flexing their muscle to hurt gay and lesbian servicemembers. SLDN has released a letter to members of the committee urging them to reject the amendments. From SLDN’s press release:
In the letter, Sarvis directly addresses expected amendments prompted by the release of guidance by the Navy regarding same-sex marriages and the use of chapels on naval bases. Specifically, on April 13, the Navy Chief of Chaplains issued guidance to Chaplains and Religious Program Specialists regarding use of base facilities following repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and found “base facility use is sexual orientation neutral.”
“That legal advice to Chaplains was prudent and correct,” wrote Sarvis. “The guidance does not mandate that a Chaplain is required to perform any marriage ceremony on or off post, and Chaplains will be free to decline to do so, just as they are free today to do so with respect to any marriage.”
Sarvis noted that the Chief of Chaplains’ guidance was based upon legal advice received from Navy legal counsel, which clearly took into consideration the legal requirements of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Chief’s guidance and Navy Legal counsel are wholly consistent with DOMA, he said.
“To suggest that a Chaplain would violate DOMA by voluntarily taking part in such a ceremony and, perhaps, that a service member would be acting illegally by entering into a same-sex union is an incorrect reading of the law. DOMA does not purport to restrict individual activities – it merely deals with what recognition the federal government will give to them,” said Sarvis.
Anticipated amendments related to this topic are likely to be offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Mr. Todd Akin (R-MO) to reaffirm and restate DOMA provisions should be opposed, said Sarvis.
“To bring the DOMA debate into the NDAA mark-up is an unprecedented step taken by those eager to interject cultural issues into the funding authorization for our armed forces,” he said.
Sarvis urged members to oppose both amendments as well all other amendments that would undermine the repeal process.
“These amendments represent a not-so-subtle attack upon the senior leadership of the Department of Defense while, at the same time, undermine the men and women in uniform who are undertaking with the highest degree of professionalism the very assignment they were given by the previous Congress,” Sarvis concluded.
And in equally interesting news, LezGetReal reports that the lily-livers at the Pentagon have decided to revoke its advice regarding chaplains and their ability to perform same-sex marriages on bases in state’s where it’s legal. Guess whose pressure is responsible? Tony Perkins and the professional anti-gays at the Family Research Council:
The age of instant news without a whole lot of information. Apparently, the Pentagon has decided to cave to pressure from the likes of hate monger Tony Perkins and the rest of the homophobic idiots out there and now is no longer willing to allow chaplains to act in accordance to their religious beliefs and perform same-sex unions in those states that allow them.