When the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell took effect in the fall, the Pentagon explained that in states with marriage equality, a same-sex marriage ceremony can be performed on military bases. No military chaplain is required to perform a marriage ceremony if it violates their beliefs, but they are allowed if they wish to.
Since then, Republicans have proposed numerous measures to ban these ceremonies, arguing that such ceremonies amounts to DOMA-prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages. In September, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) attached a provision to a House defense authorization bill that specifically prohibits marriage ceremonies not allowed by DOMA from being performed on federal property. In January, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) proposed a bill that bans military chaplains from performing all same-sex marriage ceremonies under the guise of affirming their right not to perform such ceremonies.
This week, a military chaplain performed a lesbian commitment (note: not marriage) ceremony on the Fort Polk Army Base in Louisiana, a state which does not recognize same-sex marriage. Three GOP congressmen — Akin, Huelskamp, and Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) — couldn’t hold back their scorn for equality, even though no marriage ceremony was held:
HUELSKAMP: Americans should be outraged at what happened at Ft. Polk. Not only is it a clear violation of the State of Louisiana’s law to allow this “ceremony” to go forward, but this happened despite last year’s assurances from the Department of Defense that state law recognizing only traditional marriage would be respected and upheld. They clearly lied.
FLEMING: The liberal social experiment with our military continues. My frustration is compounded by the fact that a social agenda, which has nothing to do with military readiness or our national defense, is being imposed on our men and women in uniform.
AKIN: This appears to be a case where political agenda has trumped the rule of law, which is absolutely unacceptable.
These congressman have confirmed what has long been suspected: the GOP is against not only gay marriage in the military, but the very existence of gay people in the military. Pentagon officials, as well as troops themselves, have said that repealing DADT has had no harmful effect on the military. Many members of the military have said it makes them more comfortable to work in an open environment.
– Ben Sherman