Inhofe bill would ban same-sex ceremonies on military bases
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
9/12/12 at 5:21 AM
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe hasn't given up his resistance to the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the military or same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, Inhofe and fellow Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi introduced a measure that would ban same-sex marriages on military bases and protect military chaplains from "pressure" to perform such ceremonies.
The two senators described the Military Religious Freedom Act as an effort to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, on the Defense Department in the wake of the December 2010 repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which ended the official ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
"President Obama and his administration are dismissing their responsibility to uphold the law of the land by unilaterally deeming DOMA unworthy of enforcement," Inhofe said.
A Defense Department directive issued last year says: "A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation."
Supporters of the directive say chaplains are clearly exempt from same-sex services already, but some conservatives claim chaplains have been punished for refusing to perform same-sex ceremonies.
According to news reports, the first openly announced same-sex service on an American military base was a civil union at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in June. It has also been reported that a private ceremony was performed in May at Fort Polk, La., although same-sex unions are not legal in that state.
DOMA is a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Seven federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional as it pertains to benefits, bankruptcies and other domestic issues, and last year the Obama administration said it would no longer defend that portion of the law in court.
Original Print Headline: Bill would ban gay unions on bases
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Sen. Jim Inhofe: He said the Obama administration is dismissing its legal responsibility