The GOP lost the battle over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but they’ve got a mad case of sour grapes: Speaker John Boehner is trying to apply DOMA to McLaughlin v. U.S, a case with implications for the recognition and benefits due to gay and lesbian military personnel and their families.
Not so fast, Johnny Boy! In documents filed yesterday, the Service Members Legal Defense Network said Boehner’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) doesn’t have the authority to intervene in this case. Says SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:
“The Obama Administration has wisely decided not to defend these unconstitutional and discriminatory laws that hurt military families, and Speaker Boehner is attempting to appoint himself to a role that is expressly reserved to the executive branch of our government. [His] request to defend this case in the wake of the ongoing harm done to military families by these discriminatory laws is reprehensible and callous.”
Funny how the Right always says the rules for you and me don’t apply to the Armed Forces until they want them to, huh?
Sarvis took aim at two other GOP measures aimed at penalizing out service members: The first is an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, that would limit the use of Department of Defense facilities for same-gender marriage ceremonies. Adopted last night, the measure was sponsored by Representatives. Steve Palazzo (R-MS) and Todd Akin (R-MO).
The other amendment, again put forth by Akin, would give military chaplains so-called “conscience protections” if they don’t want to minister to gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces. Not only would it allow clergy to vocally attack service members for their orientation, it would also let them discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity or other reason, simply because their “conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs” requires them to. (Akin also wants to apply the “conscience protections” clause to doctors that don’t want to perform abortions and pharmacists that don’t want to fill birth-control prescriptions.)