House Approves Ban On Same-Sex Unions On Military Bases

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed an amendment to the 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill that would bar same-sex couples from holding weddings or other commitment ceremonies on military bases and ban military chaplains from conducting any such unions.

The measure was the work of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who claimed the Obama Administration was trying to circumvent DOMA by allowing gay couples to wed on-base.

“The Defense of Marriage Act means this: Marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. And the word ‘spouse’ only refers to a member of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife,” said King. “[It’s a] pretty simple statute being contravened by the President of the United States as exercised through the Secretary of Defense.”

The issue of same-sex ceremonies on military stations came to the fore when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. But after Slate reported on the union of Air Force Tech Sargent Erwynn Umali and his fiance, Will Behrens, at a joint military base in new Jersey,  King pulled out the big guns.

The news isn’t as bad as it seems, though. The measure actually bans the use of military funds for the purpose of same-sex marriages–something that isn’t actually happening anyway.

“This language put forth by Congressman King would do nothing new,” explains Aubrey Sarvis, director of the Service Members Legal Defense Network. “No funds can ever be spent in contravention of federal law. With this amendment, the Congressman is wasting Congress’ time and energy by restating current law in an attempt to infringe upon the rights of chaplains… and relegate gay and lesbian service members to second-class status.”


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  • Spike

    More legislation from the Republican led House that does nothing to create jobs thanks to the Boehner.

  • lubbockgaymale

    Good grief, why not make sure no mixed race marriages occur? And be sure to outlaw marriages to anyone who cannot procreate due to age or health!!!

  • Alex

    Waste of tax payer money and time. I didn’t vote for them but arn’t they supposed to be creating jobs and fixing the economy? Proves where their priorities lie. They would sooner sink America if it meant drowning Obama.

  • tjr101

    What’s the point in electing Republicans again? Oh right, it’s to hate on gays, women, blacks, Latinos and accuse Americans of being a part of the Muslim brotherhood.

  • Adam


    There is nothing anyone can really add to that

  • Macmantoo

    The bill is just another example of why you don’t vote republican. The good thing is it probably won’t pass the Senate and I doubt very seriously that President Obama would sign it. Just like the vote on Obama/Romney Care, just showboating.

  • Kevin

    Here’s the rub, though. Since members of the military are technically on call all hours of the day, it’s hard to say what constitutes “use of military funds” and what doesn’t. You could argue, for example, that the presence of a chaplain at a wedding on military grounds in the expenditure of funds, since he’s at his place of work performing a work-related duty (specifically, ministering to a member of the military), and, obviously, he receives a salary. Most military legal departments are conservative enough (not in the political sense) to recommend that chaplains not participate in same-sex unions to avoid any hint of improper expenditures.

  • B

    No. 6 · Macmantoo wrote, “The bill is just another example of why you don’t vote republican. The good thing is it probably won’t pass the Senate and I doubt very seriously that President Obama would sign it. Just like the vote on Obama/Romney Care, just showboating.”

    They may be showboating, but you are counting on Obama being able to veto it and the senate not passing it. If we don’t reelect Obama, the safety factor for stopping such bills drops by a factor of 2.

    Showboating or not, it shows which political party is against gays. It’s fundamentally no different than (fortunately never introduced) legislation putting similar restrictions on interracial marriages when laws prohibiting such marriages were declared unconstitutional.

  • Cam

    So the GOP ran on Jobs Jobs Jobs….and yet they have refused to vote on the jobs bill but have passed multiple bills about gays and abortion and restricting women’s access to healthcare.

  • Danny

    Wow… genocidal politicians violating the human rights of millions of people. That never ends well.

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