White House “Strongly Objects” to Religious Liberty Provisions
President Obama’s administration has registered its objections to several portions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the US House (which also includes another attempt to ban NASCAR sponsorships).
The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in [the bill] that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to act against their consciences, as, for example, in being ordered to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony.
The White House Office of Management and Budget made an interesting observation on the seriousness of banning the use of military facilities for same-sex ceremonies. The OMB said the ban [emphasis added]
would make it obligatory for the department to “deny…access to facilities for religious ceremonies on the basis of sexual orientation, a troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation on religious liberty.”
The OMB fails to say what religion includes the exercise of homosexuality as one of its tenets.
Faced with accusations of a “war on religious belief” — as characterized by Rep Todd Akin (R-MO) — the DoD reiterated its stance that
DADT Repeal is not about changing attitudes but rather about reinforcing behavior that treats everyone with dignity and respect…
Others have said the legislation is unnecessary, though that line of logic falters slightly in the face of DOMA. Some DADT repeal concerns were dismissed as “unnecessary” because DOMA made them moot. Once DADT was repealed, the Obama administration stopped defending DOMA in court, and is now actively working to repeal it. Even now, activist groups are trying to paint DOMA as the next big discrimination fight. Thus, the “don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine” line of thinking carries little weight.
Ironically, while some opponents claim the amendments were unnecessary because current policies already allow what the legislation protects, others claim those same amendments actually codify illegal conduct. Jason Torpy, resident atheist critic, said
These amendments are intended to give chaplains the additional power to force their beliefs on others by belittling and ridiculing fellow service members.
Contrary to Torpy’s drama, nothing in the amendments to the NDAA gave anyone power to force their beliefs on anyone. And if current policies already allow members to express their religious beliefs, there is no change in anyone’s ability to ‘belittle or ridicule’ anyone. As usual, Torpy sees persecution where none exists.
President Obama has reportedly threatened to veto the Defense Act over a multitude of concerns.