- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Republicans in the House are pushing legislation that could limit or delay the repeal of the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military.

The House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to consider its annual defense policy bill, and four GOP committee members are planning to propose amendments that will affect the repeal of the 17-year-old current policy - known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” - under which gays can serve if they don’t reveal their sexual preference.

Advocates for repeal of the policy said they believe the amendments will not save the gay ban.

Rep. Todd W. Akin, Missouri Republican, said he will propose an amendment that bars the use of military facilities and military chaplains for gay weddings.

Mr. Akin told The Washington Times that same-sex marriages on military bases or ceremonies performed by military chaplains would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.

“They would be in violation of the law,” he said of such weddings, which the Navy authorized in an order published last month.

The order - one of the policy changes driven by the preparations for the repeal of the “don’t ask” policy - said Navy base facilities could be used for gay weddings in states where they are legal.

“This amendment tells them they must be in conformity with the law,” Mr. Akin said of the Defense Department chiefs who are preparing for the repeal.

The Justice Department has recently decided not to defend the constitutionality of the federal marriage law.

“We’re fighting an activist mentality that wants to ignore the proper role of government,” Mr. Akin said, accusing the Obama administration of “following the laws it likes and ignoring he ones it doesn’t.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, former head of the Army’s Pacific command, complained of the administration’s “rush to repeal” the gay ban in an interview with The Times earlier this week.

At the moment, the law says the repeal will take effect 60 days after the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the defense secretary and the president all certify that the armed services are ready and that lifting the ban will not affect the military’s ability to fight.

Rep Duncan Hunter, California Republican, said he will propose an amendment that would also require each of the four service chiefs have to certify that their branches of the military are ready for the repeal of the policy.

Tommy Sears of the Center for Military Readiness said other members of the committee will offer an amendment to reaffirm DOMA’s application to the military and another one to guarantee religious liberty for service members, including those who oppose homosexuality.