Letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell


Congressman Todd Akin, Chairman of the Seapower & Projection Forces Subcomittee, today released a letter to Senate leadership calling for the inclusion of language protecting traditional marriage on the National Defense Authorization Act. The letter was signed by 86 members of the House, calling for language similar to the Akin amendment that was carried on the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

"The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a bipartisan vote in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton," said Congressman Akin. "Unfortunately, this current administration is now directing the Department of Defense to ignore this law and perform gay marriages on military bases. I think this is wrong, which is why I offered an amendment to the House-passed defense bill making it clear that DOMA applies to the DOD. This letter calls for the Senate to add a similar amendment to their version of the bill. The Department of Defense should not be allowed to simply ignore laws they do not like."

The letter is attached and a list of signing members is below.

Dear Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,

As you know, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The law of the land is the federal government defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Unfortunately, the Department of Defense seems intent on circumventing this law.

In April, a memo from the Navy Chief of Chaplains issued new guidance to ignore federal law, which was temporarily suspended. On September 30, 2011 the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (DoD) released a second memorandum stating that in connection with the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), the "use of the DoD real property and facilities for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies, should be made on a sexual-orientation neutral basis." This statement is nothing more than a reissuing of the original April guidance. Rather than using the term "marriage," the Department of Defense has merely written the guidance broadly in an attempt to avoid questions about whether its policy is in violation of DOMA. The application, however, of this new policy will undoubtedly violate DOMA.

This clear and deliberate violation of established U.S. law sets a dangerous precedent. DOMA makes clear that for purposes of the federal government, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. The use of federal property or federal employees to perform anything but opposite-sex ceremonies is a clear contravention of the law.

When the House of Representatives passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in April, the Akin and Hartzler amendments were adopted which clarify that federal employees and federal property can only be used to support marriages in a manner consistent with DOMA.

We recognize the National Defense Authorization Act is well underway and needed funds for our troops should be expedited without delay. However, we respectfully request that an amendment similar to that passed by the House be included to ensure that this administration follow the law as written and comply with DOMA. It is not the place of any citizen of this country to pick and choose which laws will be obeyed. We expect citizens sworn to defend those laws to set the example in their application.