The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday morning voted in favor of an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that prohibits the use of funds to implement training on the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law for chaplains.
The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), was introduced in response to an April memo from the Navy Chief of Chaplains (subsequently withdrawn) that concluded that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does not bar a chaplain from voluntarily officiating at a lawful marriage of a same-sex couple.
But on Thursday evening, Huelskamp acknowledged he had even seen the training curriculum:
In floor debate on the amendment yesterday evening, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) elicited from Rep. Huelskamp that he had not even seen the DADT repeal curriculum itself and had only requested a copy from Defense Department officials that day – the same day he filed his amendment. Transcript of the amendment debate:
Rep. Polis: Has the gentleman from Kansas read the training manual that he is seeking to defund in this case?
Rep. Huelskamp: Madam Chair, that is an excellent question. We tried to obtain a copy of that from the Department of Defense today and they refused to provide a copy. What I do have is an online three-page summary of the manual.
Rep. Polis: So, reclaiming my time, I think that the straight answer is no. In fact, our ranking member and others have been unable to get that from the Navy Liaison’s Office.via: HRC.
The amendment was approved by a vote of 236-184.
“In their continued zeal to interfere with the repeal of DADT and micromanage the Defense Department, House Republicans have reached a new low by voting to strip funds for trainings that they have not even read,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, in a statement. “By all reports, training for DADT repeal has been proceeding smoothly and the memorandum that they have found so concerning has been withdrawn.”
Earlier on Thursday, the House voted in favor of another anti-gay amendment to the defense appropriations bill that reaffirmed DOMA as component of the Pentagon spending legislation.
The amendment, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was approved by a vote of 248-175, read:
“The proposed amendment simply expresses the intent of Congress that in all military policies, regulations, programs, and matters involving benefits, funds may not be used for activities in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act.”
“Apparently the House vote last night to needlessly restate that DOMA is still the law of the land wasn’t enough,” Solmonese said. “Now, led by Rep. Huelskamp, a majority of the House has voted to overrule military leaders about personnel training without even bothering to read that training first.”
“It is now up to the Senate to reject this farcical political gamesmanship that disrespects the Pentagon, our fighting men and women, and LGBT Americans,” he added.