Anti-Gay House GOP provisions dropped from NDAA in Conference
A Statement from the Service members Legal Defense Fund on the National Defense Authorization Act. Two theocrat partisan backers of DOMA in the House, Hartzler and Akin from Missouri, had introduced anti-gay provisions that would prevent Service chaplains from performing Gay marriages. Those provisions got dropped.
Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis released a statement regarding today’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference committee report. The report drops language from the House version introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), chaplains’ participation in same-gender marriage ceremonies, and access to military facilities. It includes language introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) related to chaplains. Meanwhile, it does not include repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to sodomy.
“We congratulate the House and Senate conference committee for having struck the correct balance on the chaplains provisions. Clearly, there was no place for the restrictive Akin language as the Defense Department continues to move forward on effective implementation of open service in our military. This report demonstrates that a majority in Congress remains committed to, and in lock step with the Pentagon, in ensuring that we stay on the repeal course adopted by the last Congress and signed off on by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. There was no back tracking in the conference report on this front.
“Additionally, our initial reading of the committee’s decision to update the provisions for rape and sexual assault in Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is also positive.
“However, we are very disappointed that the conferees voted to keep the sodomy provisions in Article 125. Dropping Article 125 has been recommended for more than a decade by SLDN and several groups, including the Cox Commission that includes distinguished legal scholars from the military and academia, as well as the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG). The Senate was right to take this action, and it is unfortunate that their attempt to end Article 125 did not prevail. SLDN will continue to work with the Senate, House, and Department of Defense to bring about this needed change.”
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America’s military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,000 requests for assistance.