Rep. Akin’s amendment to allow servicemembers to oppose homosexuals in the ranks passes
The House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday to protect service members, especially chaplains, from persecution for opposing the presence of gays in the military.
Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., said the amendment to the 2013 defense authorization bill protects religious freedom of military chaplains and the conscience and moral principals of service members who are opposed to homosexuality but feel pressured since the 2011 repeal of the military’s gay ban to hide their beliefs out of fear of recrimination.
It passed by a 36-25 vote.
‘This is trying to protect the ability of people to have their own opinion,’ Akin said. He said that he has heard from many chaplains who feel their expression of opposition to homosexuals has or could lead to recriminations or harm to their careers by denying assignments, promotions, training or education.
Huh? Servicemembers can now have an open and free opinion about military regulations and policy? Wow, this will work out well when the Armed Forces have enough discipline problems in the ranks as it is.
On a 37-24 vote, the committee also passed a second amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages or a ‘marriage-like ceremony’ that involves a same-sex couples from being held at any military installation or on any property owned, rented or under the control of the Defense Department.
Whether either provision becomes law is unclear. Akin was an opponent of lifting the gay ban. In 2010, just before the military’s policy changed, he convinced the House Armed Services Committee to pass an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages from occurring on military bases only to have the provision stricken from the final bill during negotiations with the White House and Senate. This is the same prohibition that Palazzo is now sponsoring.
Opponents of the Akin legislation worry it ‘opens the door to allow harassment and discrimination without penalties,’ said a statement from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. They claim the bill could be seen as a ‘license to bully’ gay men and lesbians.
I’d be afraid of bullying by chaplains more than any physical or verbal abuse. Hitchens was right, religion does posion everything.