Senate Defense Bill Adds Marriage, Removes Sodomy Rules

Update: The Pentagon has said bestiality would still be impermissible.  Aides in Congress are saying the repeal may not stand anyway.

US Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) successfully submitted an amendment to the 2012 Defense Authorization Act that would explicitly protect US military chaplains in regard to homosexual marriage:

The Wicker legislation would prevent military chaplains from being forced to perform a marriage ceremony if the chaplain objects for reasons of conscience…

“This amendment will allow the chaplains of our Armed Forces to maintain the freedom of conscience necessary to serve both their Nation and their religion without conflict,” Wicker said.

Nothing officially requires chaplains to perform any marriage ceremony.  However, there were significant concerns after the repeal of DADT and the DoD’s decision to allow homosexual marriages in military chapels that chaplains who declined due to conduct a homosexual ceremony might be sanctioned or accused of discrimination.  Chaplain Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has “thanked” the US Senate for the protection of religious liberty.

Notably, the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Act also removes Article 125 from the UCMJ — the provision banning sodomy and bestiality. Presumably this was to remove the ban on sodomy following the repeal of DADT, and the bestiality clause was “collateral damage.”  President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill over issues related to detainees.

The legislation will have to be reconciled with that of the US House, which was passed earlier this year with an outright ban on homosexual ceremonies on US military facilities.

With reference to