September 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Tuesday introduced the Military Religious Freedom Act.  The Wicker-Inhofe legislation explicitly outlines how the Defense of Marriage Act should be applied to the Department of Defense.

Specifically, the bill would (1) prevent military chaplains from being forced to perform a marriage ceremony if the chaplain objects for reasons of conscience and (2) prohibit marriage or marriage-like ceremonies at military facilities that are not a union between one man and one woman.
“The Defense of Marriage Act remains law, and as policy changes are implemented by the Department of Defense, the statute must be followed,” Wicker said.  “This legislation also protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains who are serving our nation in the Armed Forces.”

“President Obama and his administration are dismissing their responsibility to uphold the law of the land by unilaterally deeming DOMA unworthy of enforcement,” said Inhofe.  “At the same time, since the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, they have begun to pressure military chaplains to fall in line with their liberal same-sex marriage agenda.  This bill protects military chaplains from being forced to go against their conscience and religious beliefs in regard to this issue.  This is something the chaplains that serve this country need and deserve.”

Last year, the Department of Defense authorized military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages in accordance with state law.  The authorization allows military chaplains to participate in ceremonies on or off military bases in states that recognize same-sex marriage.

A copy of the bill can be found here.