Friday, December 16, 2011

Defense Authorization Bill Passes With Conscience Protection For Chaplains

Bloomberg reports that Congress yesterday gave final approval to HR 1540, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. (Full text of Conference Report.) The bill now goes to the President for his signature. Section 544 of the bill provides:
A military chaplain who, as a matter of conscience or moral principle, does not wish to perform a marriage may not be required to do so.
The section responds to concerns by some that, with the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the military, chaplains may be pressured to perform same-sex marriages.  As reported by Mother Jones earlier this week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon failed in his efforts to include in the bill a total ban on military chaplains performing same-sex marriages.