A bill that would bar gay and lesbian
couples from marrying on military bases and would allow chaplains to
refuse to officiate over such unions was introduced last week in the
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp is the
Republican sponsor of the bill.
“It will also protect the freedom of
those in the military to express vocally the tenets of their faiths.
And it will make certain that our military facilities are not used in
contravention to the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Huelskamp
said in a statement. “Military installations exist to carry out
the national defense of our nation, not to facilitate a narrow social
With the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,” the Pentagon issued guidance which stated that chaplains may
officiate over the marriage and civil union ceremonies of gay couples
in states where it's legal, including those taking place on base
chapels. No chaplain is required to perform the ceremony.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group which advocates
for the rights of gay troops, criticized the bill.
“Here they go again with another
round of resistance tactics that have already been rejected by
Congress and the American people. There is no need for the so-called
'protections' in this bill or the proposed regulations. No chaplain
today is being required or pressured to marry anyone, straight or
gay. Period. The bill's ban on use of military facilities and
chaplains officiating at ceremonies for gay and lesbian service
members is nothing more than plain, old-fashion discrimination.
There is no place for that prejudice in our armed forces or in our
country,” said Sarvis in a statement.