In an attempt to delay allowing gays into the military, the U.S. House voted to prohibit chaplains from performing same-sex marriages on military bases, regardless of state law.
In a 236-184 vote, the House approved an amendment to the defense spending bill. Pentagon leaders said there should be no delay in ending the ban on openly gay service members, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Defense Secretary Leon Paneetta is likely to certify the change in a matter of months.
Opposition remains strong in the Republican rank and file, despite the repeal and a recent lift on an injunction that stopped the government from enforcing the law.
“What will happen to chaplains who decline to officiate over same-sex ceremonies?” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., sponsor of the amendment, asked the Associated Press. “The directive states that chaplains ‘may’ perform same-sex civil marriage ceremonies. I fear that chaplains who refuse to perform these ceremonies may find themselves under attack and their careers threatened.”
More than 1 million members of the military have been trained on the new policy, and no adverse affects have been noted.