Updated Sunday, 8:13 a.m. PST
An amendment, proposed by Republican House Rep. Steve King (Iowa), that would ban same-sex marriage on military bases and prohibit military chaplains from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies passed with a vote of 247-166.
More after the jump.
This amendment was approved Thursday as part of the 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill. The Defense Appropriations Bill covers the Pentagon’s $608 billion budget, which was also approved in full by the House with a 247-167 vote.
The amendment requires that no money spent on the military will be used to “contravene” the Defense of Marriage Act.
The vote did not fall entirely along party lines. Five Republicans voted against the amendment: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.).
There were also 17 Democrats that voted in favor of the amendment: Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Nick Rahall (D-W.V.), Miss Ross (D-Ark.) and Health Shuler (D-N.C.).
Still LGBT advocate, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, downplays the effect the amendment will have, though it’s hard to downplay the message that it sends.
Sarvis says, “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 to practice their own faith and relegate gay and lesbian service members to second-class status by restricting their use of military facilities.”
Sarvis notes that DOMA doesn’t legislate whether same-weddings can take place on military bases or whether chaplains can officiate over them.
She continues, “If the congressman wants a debate about the inequalities thrust upon America’s gay and lesbian service members by DOMA, let’s have that debate. But perhaps, he should first undertake a review of the law and come to the debate prepared.”
Because there's clearly nothing more pressing on Congress's agenda, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment today that would ban same-sex marriage on any military facility and prohibit any military chaplain from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.
More after the jump.
According to Politico, King accused both the President and the Secretary of Defense of “contravening” the Defense of Marriage Act by allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages on bases.
King condemned a directive from the Secretary of Defense that says “a military chaplain may officiate any private ceremony on or off a military installation.”
He argues that this directive was “not just permission that’s implied encouragement to conduct same-sex marriages on our military bases conducted by our chaplains presumably who are all under the payroll of the U.S. government.”
Of course he's ignoring that military chaplains can choose not to perform same-sex marriages...
Still, King argues that any performance of same-sex marriage is a violation of DOMA. He says:
“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. Pretty simple statute being contravened by the president of the United States as exercised through the Secretary of Defense. This amendment prohibits the use of military facilities or the pay of military chaplains for being used to contravene the defense of marriage act.”
Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) admonished King’s proposed amendment, saying King “knows that current law already prohibits same-sex spouses from independently shopping at military commissaries, using base gyms or benefiting from subsidized dental and health care.
Dicks continues, "We should have a debate on the effects of DOMA on our service members and their families, but introducing this contentious and discriminatory amendment is not the place.”
The House will vote on the amendment Thursday afternoon as part of the 2013 Defense Appropriations bill.