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Republicans aggressively pushing for an anti-gay provision in defense bill

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Friday, December 14, 2012

Some House Republicans are pushing for inclusion of a “conscience protection” clause in the final version of Pentagon budget legislation that could enable discrimination against gay service members, according to LGBT advocates familiar with conference committee negotiations.

The measure could be made final as soon as today.

Rep. W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.)
File photo by Michael Key, Washington Blade

Two LGBT advocates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said House Republican conferees working on the final version of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill are pushing for language along the lines of the “conscience protections” in the House version of the legislation under Section 536. One source said this language is “very much in play” for being in the final version of the bill and is one of the final issues yet to be resolved as conferees wrap up the legislation.

Under the language, the U.S. military would have to “accommodate the conscience and sincerely held moral principles and religious beliefs of the members of the Armed Forces concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality” and may not use these beliefs as the basis of any adverse personnel action or discrimination. Additionally, it would prohibit the U.S. military from taking action against military chaplains who decline to serve a particular service member based on religious beliefs.

This language has been understood to mean service members could actively harass their fellow comrades for their perceived or actual sexual orientation without fear of reprisal. Additionally, it has been understood to mean that chaplains would have free rein to discriminate against service members on any basis — including religion, gender, sexual orientation, race or any other characteristic — simply by saying serving them is contrary to their beliefs.

The provision was added during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the legislation in May by outgoing Rep. W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), an anti-gay lawmaker who became notorious during his bid as a U.S. Senate candidate for suggesting a woman can resist becoming pregnant after a “legitimate rape.” One of the LGBT advocates said the final language may not be exactly like Akin’s language in the House bill, but something along similar lines.

According to one source, House Republicans are pushing for the provision in exchange for giving up on the other anti-gay provision in the House defense authorization bill, Section 537, which would prohibit the use of Defense Department property for same-sex marriage ceremonies.

The Republican-controlled House approved a defense authorization bill with both these provisions as part of its $642 billion package in May, but the Senate left out this language in its $631 billion legislation passed last week.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. Yes, because only Christians fight in the military.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:34pm
  2. Get over it already…

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:35pm
  3. Aahh… No. Just No.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:36pm
  4. Oh yeah, regulate gays, not guns! Assholes.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:37pm
  5. Another hater. Maybe a closet case too.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:39pm
  6. So we can fight and die for a country we have no rights in?! Assholes.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:40pm
  7. LEAVE IT ALONE MORON(S) Leave it alone already, Gays and Lesbians aren’t going anywhere, meanwhile animals are murdering our children in school and you want to do shit like this, REALLY? Am I even still in America? WOW. Leave gay ppl. the frickady frack alone!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:40pm
  8. Brian, WTF does this defense bill have to do with the fucking shooting in CT?

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:41pm
  9. Where’s that “All Men are Created Equal”? Heard a Truth this morning, Lincoln was the First and Last decent Republican.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:44pm
  10. Patrick the fact the people are focusing on issues like this instead of issues that really matter right Brian?

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:44pm
  11. No,No,No.!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:45pm
  12. Just because on event happens, does not mean that we all must focus on that single event. This issue is the defense bill, posing about that shooting has NOTHING to do with this defense bill.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:46pm
  13. It will never make it into the final version which will be signed by President Obama. Usually the Defense Bill has a pro-Gay provision, such as the Mathew Shepard Act.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:49pm
  14. Their focus is SO off. Guns, not gays!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:51pm
  15. So what it comes down to quite simply is that these “men” are pro-bullying.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 12:51pm
  16. Why aren’t they doing more to prevent things like the shooting in Con., and not be spending so much time and money on repressing LGBT equality laws and such…

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:01pm
  17. It’s like we keep taking one step forward, and then two steps back *sigh*

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:01pm
  18. Really, really? They lose the war on gays in the Congress by the end of DADT and now they want to sneak something like this in the appropriations bill. What if Congress had done that when black troops were integrated into white units? People back then thumped the bible to justify segregation too. Give me a frackin’ break!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:12pm
  19. Why is it so hard to separate Secular and Religion?! Everyone has the right to serve their country, the right to marry any legally consenting adult of their choice, love who they love, and have the same rights as any heterosexual couple. Can’t all these old hateful people just retire already?!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:24pm
  20. Its sickening how they cant focus on more important matters. Gay goes against THEIR beliefs. Other ppl believe different!!! So we have to suffer and bow to what u believe the definitionof love is and how it should be shared? Assholes!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:55pm
  21. this is bring me to tears i cant read no longer :(

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:56pm
  22. Religion and law are two different things! I swear these ppl have never read the constitution theyre supposed to abide by

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:57pm
  23. GOP give up the fight your gonna lose and we of the lgbt will win in spades

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 2:42pm
  24. 27 people, 20 of them children, were murdered today. There are bigger concerns taht make this whole bill shit seem utterly insignificant.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 2:50pm
  25. Well, as sad as I am about the tragedy in Newtown, I don’t agree that our equal civil rights are insignificant no matter what else happened in the world. The bigger issue is why who we love and want to marry is sooooo important to these hateful a-holes…

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 3:45pm
  26. We are heading for a fiscal cliff, and this kind of crap continues to be a priority with the republicans.

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 5:35pm
  27. strange!

    Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6:54pm