Rep. Buck McKeon, the chairman of the
House Armed Services Committee, has said military chaplains are being
forced to officiate the weddings of gay and lesbian service members.
Late last month Under Secretary of
Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley issued a memo
which stated that chaplains may officiate the marriage and civil
union ceremonies of gay couples in states where it's legal, including
those taking place on military installations.
The issue had previously surfaced and
the House responded in May by attaching a provision to the defense
bill that bans such unions. The mostly GOP lawmakers argued that
allowing such marriages violates the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
During an appearance on cabler C-Span's
Newsmakers, McKeon said he would rather see the bill fail than
have the marriage provision stripped.
“This is one of the concerns we had.
That we were rushing this … to eliminate this before we had fully
prepared things,” he said, referring to the repeal of “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the law that for 18 years banned gay and bisexual
troops from serving openly.
“And DOMA is the law of the land,”
“The Defense of Marriage Act,” host
John Donnelly expanded.
“It is. And we think that chaplains
should not be forced to do something that goes against their
When Donnelly explained that chaplains
would not be required to perform such ceremonies, a smug McKeon
answered: “I know how you get the camel's bells in the tent and
things just start expanding. As soon as it happened, there were
already calls to have marriages. We knew this was going to happen,
that's why we asked to take a little time and not rush into this.
Solve a problem – a political problem – again on the backs of the