House passes amendment to prohibit chaplains from performing same-sex marriages on military bases

Font Size:

The House passed Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s amendment to the 2012 Department of Defense authorization bill prohibiting military chaplains from performing same-sex marriages Friday morning.

Following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Navy Chief of Chaplains announced that military chaplains would be allowed to perform same-sex marriages. While the Navy has backed away from this assertion, Huelskamp’s amendment would ensure that it not resurface. (Bloomberg to officiate one of New York’s first gay weddings)

Huelskamp’s main concern is that military bases not become a vehicle to “advance a narrow social agenda.”

“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment in order to promote and ensure conformity and uniformity to the military culture, not the other way around; to promote religious liberty of military chaplains; and to promote consistency with federal laws on marriage,” he said.

According to Huelskamp, service members have had to undergo hours of sensitivity training – including warnings that failure to accept gay lifestyles will result in discipline.

Huelskamp fears that chaplains unwilling to perform same-sex marriages will face threats to their careers.

“We must ensure the religious liberty of all military members, particularly that of chaplains,” he said on the House floor Thursday night. “Regardless of how one feels about the policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I think we can all agree that instructing military chaplains that they can perform same-sex marriages goes above and beyond this particular law. In fact this directive is not only an overreach of the repeal but also a direct assault on the Defense of Marriage Act.”

The amendment passed 236-184 on the House floor.

Follow Caroline on Twitter