Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) is still concerned that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has made the military too gay-friendly. He has proposed an amendment (PDF) to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would essentially create a “license to bully” for military personnel with anti-gay beliefs, with a special layer of protection for military chaplains:
The Armed Forces shall 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 such conscience, principles, or beliefs as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment. […]
No member of the Armed Forces may (A) direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain; or (B) discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a direction, order, or requirement prohibited by sub-paragraph (A).
In other words, under Akin’s amendment, any servicemember would have free reign to express anti-gay views, regardless of what consequences they have to unit morale. For example, homophobic officers could intimidate and condemn gay troops serving under them, compromising productivity and creating a hostile environment of disrespect and potential violence. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may no longer be law, but it seems Akin still wants a military that forces out its gay troops.
Last year, all of the anti-gay amendments offered by Akin and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) were ultimately dropped from the defense budget. Hopefully the same happens this year.
MetroWeekly reports that this amendment and another banning same-sex marriages on military bases are the handiwork of some of the most notorious anti-gay groups, including:
- Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness.
- Brian Duggan, a lobbyist for the National Organization for Marriage.
- Austin Nimocks and Daniel Blomberg, lawyers with the Alliance Defense Fund.
- Tom McClusky from the Family Research Council.
- Doug Lee and Ron Crews from the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
- Nathaniel Bennett, the director of government affairs for the American Center for Law and Justice.