The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill that would ban money from being used in violation of federal law prohibiting same-sex marriage in the military.
The amendment was introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who said that it is “a much needed solution to a problem started by an administration that's prone to ignoring the law.”
In a statement released shortly after the legislation passed, King explained that his amendment “prohibits the use of both military funds and facilities for same-sex marriages.”
“The military is an entity of the federal government, and federal law states that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. “Despite this, the Obama administration has allowed same sex marriages to occur on military bases. These marriages violate the Defense of Marriage Act.”
On July 19, the House passed the DOMA Limitation Amendment by a bipartisan vote of 247-166. The amendment will prohibit the use of military facilities or funding for military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages.
Similar versions of the legislation have passed the House in previous years.
Discussing the amendment on the House floor, King said that the language was necessary because the executive branch has worked to undermine “marriage between one man and one woman within our military ranks.”
He argued that President Barack Obama and his administration have shown “disrespect for the Constitution” by “contravening” the Defense of Marriage Act.
The act, which was passed bilaterally in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes.
However, President Obama recently announced that he supports a redefinition of marriage, and his administration has said that it will no longer defend the current law.
Military chaplains have reported feeling pressure to perform same-sex marriages since the 2010 decision to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which had previously prevented homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
In addition, the Department of Defense has issued memos in the last year to allow military facilities to be used for same-sex marriage and to permit military chaplains to officiate at these ceremonies.
King argued that these directives are “not just permission” but “implied encouragement” for chaplains funded by the U.S. government to participate in “gay marriage” ceremonies.
He insisted that “an evolving position by the president of the United States cannot be allowed to contravene the will of the people of the United States,” as expressed by the laws passed by elected legislators.
In response, he said, his amendment “prohibits the use of military facilities or the pay of military chaplains for being used to contravene the Defense of Marriage Act.”