President Obama’s historic affirmation of support for marriage equality yesterday was followed up by some Republican machinations on the Hill today, passing a measure in the House along party lines that would, per Politico, stop the Justice Department from using taxpayer funds to actively oppose the Defense of Marriage Act.
The regression actually began last night, when, overshadowed by the President’s news, the House Armed Services Committee voted to ban “marriage or marriage-like ceremonies” between same-sex couples from occurring on United States military bases.
The $554 billion defense bill was approved to include a measure to prevent same-sex marriage on American military bases, even if the bases are located in states where same-sex marriage is legal. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who is currently running for Senate, introduced the measure and positioned it as a defense against the President’s promotion of gay rights:
"The president has repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and is using the military as props to promote his gay agenda," Akin said Wednesday while defending his amendment.
A statement on Rep. Akin’s website includes praise from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who applauded Rep. Akin “for his efforts to ensure that the military is not used to advance the liberal social agenda of the Obama administration.”
Opponents of the measure argued that this ban is a huge step backward from the President’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said that this amendment ”sends a message [to gay and lesbian service members] that their service is not valued.”
Currently in the United States, there are 38 states that have laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman; 31 states, most recently North Carolina, have amended their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage as well.