Main | Wednesday, December 19, 2012

House Republicans Push Bill Allowing Soldiers To Harass Gay Comrades

Rep. Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin got booted out of Congress last month, but he's not leaving without one last attempt to insert a clause into the Defense Authorization Act that would allow anti-gay members of the military to harass gay soldiers without retribution. Via Chris Johnson at Washington Blade:
Under the language, the U.S. military would have to “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 these beliefs as the basis of any adverse personnel action or discrimination. Additionally, it would prohibit the U.S. military from taking action against military chaplains who decline to serve a particular service member based on religious beliefs.

This language has been understood to mean service members could actively harass their fellow comrades for their perceived or actual sexual orientation without fear of reprisal. Additionally, it has been understood to mean that chaplains would have free rein to discriminate against service members on any basis — including religion, gender, sexual orientation, race or any other characteristic — simply by saying serving them is contrary to their beliefs.
The Log Cabin Republicans respond via press release:
"Open service by gay and lesbian service members has been successfully integrated into the military. There is no call for intrusion by members of Congress pushing an agenda targeting service members and their families for discrimination," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director, combat veteran and officer in the US Army Reserve. "Gay and lesbian service members, like all of our men and women in uniform, have real battles to fight. The last thing we need is Congressman Akin pulling us into a culture war through antigay amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act hiding behind religious freedom. Log Cabin Republicans call upon the NDAA conference committee to set these amendments aside and focus on ensuring that all service members have the necessary resources to maintain our nation's security."
The Senate has already passed its version of the bill without the anti-gay provisions.

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