They say that the definition of insanity…and possibly inanity…is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. A few Republicans lead by Representative Tim Huelskamp, a Kansas Republican, wants to amend the military code of justice in order to ban same-sex weddings from taking place on military installations.
Huelskamp makes the claim that the “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act” would protect the “rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains.”
To date, there has not been an incident of any chaplain being forced to marry someone against their will, and the rationale behind the law could easily be misused. Advocates for service members have pointed out that the bill is an attempt to open the door to discrimination in the military.
Zeke Stokes of OutServe-SLDN, told Metro Weekly that “This is just more of the same from a dwindling number of folks on Capitol Hill who wish to cling to the discrimination of the past, rather than embrace the journey toward full equality and fairness that we have embarked upon as a nation. This bill seeks to address a problem that doesn’t exist.”
The bill is very similar to one proposed by former Representative Todd Akin who tried to allow harassment of lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the military and ban same-sex weddings on military bases. Akin’s anti-gay provisions were watered down significantly even though they were not necessary given that the Department of Defense already ensures that chaplains cannot be forced to perform a wedding that they do not want to.
It is not the only waste of time and resources that the Republicans have proposed. Recently, legislation has been pushed to try and force welfare applicants to take drug tests despite the fact that there is no evidence of any need for that, and it would cost more money than needed.
This is the third time that such “protections” have been attempted. ACLU representative Ian Thompson stated “This proposal needs to be seen for what it is – a naked attempt to undermine DADT repeal and open service by green lighting discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. Given the acknowledged success of the transition to open service, including from the uniformed military leadership, this legislation could not be more ill-timed or ill-advised.”
So far, the bill has six cosponsors, but it is unlikely to make it through the Senate.