House votes to stop same-sex marriages from being held on military bases
July 8, 2011 | 4:38 pm
(Updated: July 8, 2011 | 4:52 pm)
House Republicans didn’t have much say in the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last December; though the 2010 elections swept Republican and Tea Party candidates into office that November, the newly-elected representatives did not replace incumbents until January.
In the mean time, with the clock running down and the Christmas recess approaching, Democrats pushed through the DADT repeal while they still had a majority in both houses. They got the help of eight Senate Republicans who defected from their party to end a Republican filibuster and voted for the bill.
But today, House Republicans retaliated through a rather obscure route, which LGBT organizations say is simply intended to delay the implementation of the President’s policy allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly. The House voted to block military chaplains from receiving training on the post-DADT policy, preventing them from performing same-sex marriages on bases, making the transition more complicated and possibly drawing it out.
The vote attached an amendment to the defense spending bill, de-funding the chaplains’ training on the transition out of DADT. That makes it difficult for Senate Democrats to vote against it or for President Obama to veto the bill, because doing so would de-fund the entire defense department.
The legislation would prevent same-sex marriages from occurring on military installations even in states where same-sex marriage is legal.
The amendment sponsor, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Kansas Republican, said the amendment is intended to protect chaplains who don’t want to perform same-sex marriages; he said he worries such chaplains risk facing negative consequences if they refuse.
Washington State Democrat Rep. Norm Dicks said the vote was simply to delay allowing lesbian and gay Americans to serve, and openly-gay Colorado Democrat Rep. Jared Polis said that the vote is “an offense” to the military to second-guess its judgment on how to train the chaplains. [MSNBC]