May 20, 2012

GOP Continues War On Marriage Equality With Defense Authorization Act



Politico said “Republican Retreat On Gay Marriage” was a swift shift. Really? I have an “I told you so” moment, and I need to share it with you.

The National Defense Authorization Act was passed in the House, and it contains discriminatory provisions. Are you surprised?

I don’t know if the average person knows much about Politico, the Allbritton Communications owned, Washington DC based, newspaper devoted to politics. I read their articles online frequently, and often cite them here on this blog. Their comprehensive coverage of Congress, the President, and politics in general is only matched by the Washington Post, and the New York Times, in my opinion.


On March 30th 2012 they published an article with the headline “Republicans retreat on gay marriage.” I read the article the day it was published, and didn’t write about it because I thought it was disingenuous and not true. After seeing the article cited multiple times on other blogs, as if it was something to celebrate, I became concerned. I was concerned primarily because I knew in my gut that the Republican position had not changed, and I thought it was somewhat irresponsible for Politico to publish the story.

I call, and email, a lot of different people and organizations to express my opinion, and sometimes I’ll write an entry for this blog. In this case, I wrote a blog post about the article on April 4th 2012, entitled “Politico Naively Suggests GOP Retreat On Marriage - But We Know Better.”

I’ll remind you of what reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer wrote:

It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.

Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.

I emailed the reporters to tell them what I thought, and I referred them to my blog post. Jake Sherman nicely replied to my email, and thanked me for sending the note, and for reading the article.

In that same blog post I wrote:

Just about 8 weeks ago, on 1/25/12 Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced H.R. 3828, the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, in order to prohibit a military installation or other property owned, rented, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of the Department of Defense (DOD) from being used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.

Does that sound like a retreat on gay marriage? I didn’t think so.

So imagine my surprise when I read that the National Defense Authorization Act, which is the annual spending measure considered by Congress to fund our wars, and pay the salaries of our men and women in uniform, was passed with a number of amendments attached to it. According to Ian Duncan and Lisa Mascaro, reporters in the Washington Bureau of the Los Angeles Times:

Wading into the gay marriage debate, the Republican-led House tacked a provision banning same-sex marriages at military chapels onto a sweeping defense bill that is now headed to the Senate.

The bill addresses gay marriage with two provisions. One would ban performing gay marriages on any facility owned by the military. Another would protect military chaplains from punishment if they declined to marry a gay couple.

These amendments make the defense bill, not just a military spending issue, but also a referendum on marriage equality. I think that’s ridiculous, unwarranted, and unnecessary. The bill heads now to the Senate, where I hope that cooler heads prevail. They should strike those amendments, and leave marriage equality out of the bill.

As for Politico - I wonder if they will acknowledge that the “Republican retreat on gay marriage” was just a brief respite, and that the GOP declared war on anything LGBT is back on. If they won’t do it - I will. The GOP led war against LGBT civil rights is back on, and they are fighting it with full force.

Equality advocates never fell for the politico story to begin with, and we will continue to fight for the LGBT community, and promote doing what’s morally right. We also have to be active in working to ensure that many of these bigots in Congress, are not re-elected next fall.

I think this calls for another email to Politico. Don’t you?


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