The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization 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.
In a policy statement released Wednesday, the White House Office of Management and Budget outlined numerous objections to aspects of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4310). The bill was reported out of the House Armed Services Committee last week and is set to be debated in the House, beginning Wednesday.
Overall, it recommends that President Obama veto H.R. 4310 if its cumulative effects “impede the ability of the Administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources.”
The veto warning is not specifically linked to the two provisions dealing with marriage, but they are listed among parts of the bill which the administration finds objectionable.
The memo said the two provisions “adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law.”
Section 536 of H.R. 4310 states in part that no member of the armed forces may “direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain.”
Further, no member of the armed forces may “discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a direction, order, or requirement” that is prohibited by the previous clause.
The OMB complained that, “in its overbroad terms,” section 536 “is potentially harmful to good order and discipline.”