Rep. Buck McKeon
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, a Republican from California’s 25th District, says if the Senate installs “gay marriage” for the military in the upcoming Defense Authorization Act, he would just as soon not have the legislation.
The stunning statement in support of traditional marriage across the United States came during an interview McKeon had with C-Span, an interview apparently recorded on Friday and broadcast over the weekend.
The interviewer asks, “Is this issue for you worth not having a Defense Authorization Bill?”
“Yes,” McKeon says.
The issue had been raised by John Donnelly of Congressional Quarterly, who was appearing on the C-Span program to ask questions of McKeon.
The full interview runs about half an hour, but the remarks about same-sex “marriage” in the military start at about the 17:45 mark:
Donnelly asks, “One of the issues you’re going to have to deal with is, well, gays in the military. Don’t ask, don’t tell has been repealed. But now it seems like same-sex marriage is emerging as a big point of contention.”
He continued, “Your bill, which has already passed the House, the Defense Authorization Bill, would effectively bar same-sex marriage in military facilities and [for] military chaplains. And I would be willing the wager the Senate is not going to do something similar.
“That’s setting up as a conflict between the two chambers in the conference. How strongly to you feel about your provision. Is that something you’re going to really go to the mat over?”
McKeon said probably so.
“I feel very strongly about that, and it passed out of our committee 60-1, our bill did and it was a very strong vote on the floor of the House,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the Senate will look at those votes and will understand our feelings on this issue. This is one of the concerns we had that we were rushing to eliminate this (repeal of Don’t ask, don’t tell) before we have fully prepared things.”
“DOMA (the federal Defense of Marriage Act) is the law of the land … and we think that chaplains should not be forced to do something that goes against their conscience.
“I know how you get the camel’s nose [under the tent] and things just start expanding. I mean it’s already… As soon as it happened there were already calls to have marriages. We knew this was going to happen. That’s why we asked to take a little time and not rush into this … and solve a problem, a political problem, on the backs of the military,” he said.
He said he’s hopeful support in the Senate for allowing in the military what is not legal across the U.S., a federal recognition of same-sex “marriages,” is not strong, because his opposition, in fact, is.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network immediately launched an accusation that it was the conservative point of view in Congress that was pursuing its “social agenda,” instead of advocates for homosexuality who actually are supporting a challenge to a federal law.
“It’s nothing short of shameful that the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, charged with protecting and authorizing funding for our nation’s service members at war, would be willing to put at risk the equipment and supplies they need in order to advance his own narrow, social agenda,” said a statement from SLDN spokesman Aubrey Sarvis.
It was just days earlier that the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, which represents several thousand evangelical Christian chaplains in the military, said they would have no part of any plan that would set up a conflict between chaplains in the military and federal law.
Chaplains must have those endorsers, or outside groups that affirm that the individual chaplain is qualified for the leadership post as chaplain, in order to be in the military.
The organization’s statement came in response to the recent announcement by the Department of Defense that chaplains now can participate in same-sex ceremonies and will be allowed to use federal facilities for such exhibitions.
“While the memorandum acknowledges a chaplain’s right to not participate in same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies – a right not given by the Pentagon, but rather given by the Creator and protected by the chaplain’s faith group – the new policy makes it clear that the Pentagon has placed the military in the midst of a deeply controversial issue during a time of ongoing war,” the organization said.
Spokesman Dr. Ron Crews, the executive director of the alliance, explained, “By dishonestly sanctioning the use of federal facilities for ‘marriage counterfeits’ that federal law and the vast majority of Americans have rejected, the Pentagon has launched a direct assault on the fundamental unit of society – husband and wife.”
So follows the alliance’s statement that the more than 2,000 military chaplains represented by its endorsers will not be involved in same-sex ceremonies.
At issue is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which for all federal purposes recognizes only a man and a woman as participants in a marriage. Homosexual activists have been trying for some time to get that definition repealed, even though two-thirds of all states also have the same definition in their own constitutions or laws.
Barack Obama joined their camp earlier this year by announcing that the administration, through the Justice Department, simply would not do its duty to defend an existing federal law, DOMA, when it is challenged in court. Republicans in the U.S. House were forced to obtain outside counsel for those disputes because of the decision on the part of the White House not to provide a defense.
It was reported just last week that the Department of Defense issued memos regarding same-sex “ceremonies” now that officials have abandoned the centuries-old standard that those acting openly on their homosexual lifestyle choices were disqualified from military service.
In its announcement, the Defense Department said not only would military chaplains be allowed to participate in such events, they also could be held at military chapels across the nation.
That drew an immediate negative reaction from Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the archbishop of the archdiocese for military services in the Catholic church. The Roman Catholic Church “does not perform the sacrament of matrimony for same-sex couples,” said an announcement.
Therefore, no such events will happen at West Point’s Catholic Chapel, which is a Catholic parish and is unlike the nondenominational chapels found on other military installations.
Crews’ announcement said the evangelicals were joining the Catholics on this matter.
“I was stunned at the memorandum that came out last Friday,” he told WND. “It appears to set the Department of Defense in opposition to Congress in that Congress has passed a definition of marriage that is now federal law.”
“It appears they’re allowing chaplains to be in a position of violating federal law, and that would be done by sanction of the Defense Department,” he said.
“We’re very concerned if this is just the first salvo from the Department of Defense after repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’” he said.
The law of the land regarding marriage in the United States has been the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.
The federal law, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, has been under increasing attack since President Obama took office in January 2009.
Also, the Center for Military Readiness confirmed before Congress took its vote that the “study” to assess whether open homosexuality in the U.S. military was workable had been fixed, so that the results would indicate only what the pro-homosexual activists wanted.