US: New bill would ban equal marriage on military bases

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The resistance against equal marriage on military bases from a US Senator, has not wavered, as a new bill was introduced yesterday with a view to banning such ceremonies.

Senator Jim Inhofe, and fellow Republican Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, introduced the bill which would ban same-sex wedding ceremonies on military bases, as well as “protect” military chaplains from “pressure” to perform the weddings, Tulsa World reported.

According to the pair, the Military Religious Freedom Act, was intended to enforce the Defence of Marriage Act. This follows last year’s announcement that, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the military ban on gay and lesbian people serving in the US miltary, was repealed.

“President Obama and his administration are dismissing their responsibility to uphold the law of the land by unilaterally deeming DOMA unworthy of enforcement,” Senator Inhofe said.

A memo released by the Pentagon last September said that military chaplains could perform same-sex weddings. It said: “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.

“Further a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”

The Defence of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is a 1996 federal law which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. This has been deemed unconstitutional by several federal courts, and has been challenged in many individual cases.

The Obama Administration last year instructed the Justice Department to cease defence of DOMA, and later in 2011, he said he was “proud” to support the Respect for Marriage Act, with a view to officially repealing the federal ban on equal marriage.