Last week, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee advanced another “license to discriminate” amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, among many other amendments. This provision would limit commanding officers’ ability to discipline servicemembers for anti-gay bullying and harassment until after they “actually harm good order and discipline.”
The White House responded to the myriad of amendments with a threat to veto, specifically addressing the “rights of conscience” measure as an area of concern:
The Administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, “actions and speech” reflecting the “conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member.” By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.
President Obama similarly condemned a weaker version of these “license to discriminate” protections that was included in last year’s defense budget as “unnecessary and ill-advised.”