Armed Services Subcommittee Chair: DOD Instructing Military 'To Do Things Which Are in Fact Illegal to Do'

September 30, 2011 - 4:27 PM

Gays in Military Wedding

Navy Lt. Gary Ross, left, checks the time with Dan Swezy before exchanging wedding vows on Monday night, Sept. 19, 2011, in Duxbury, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said the Obama administration was "bordering on lawlessness" with Friday’s Pentagon announcement that military chaplains may officiate in same-sex wedding ceremonies of service members in states where gay marriage is legal.

“One of the things that’s increasingly alarming to many Americans is the nature of various agencies of the federal government that either make up their own laws or try to create their own law when they do not have law-making authority,” Akin told CNSNews.com on Friday.

“In this case, it appears that the Department of Defense under Obama – and probably at Obama’s instruction -- has decided to ignore federal law and instruct the military to do things which are in fact illegal to do,” said Akin, who is the chairman of the Seapower & Projection Forces Subcommittee for the House Armed Services Committee.

“And that is a very dangerous precedent for our Department of Defense -- to do things that the law says that they’re not allowed to do," said the congressman.

In May, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, authored by Akin, to make it clear that the 1993 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) applies to federal employees and federal property.

DOMA not only protects states from being forced to accept homosexual marriages, it defines for federal purposes that marriage is between one man and one woman, said Aiken.

“So, if the Department of Defense decides that they are going to have government-paid chaplains on government property performing homosexual marriages, they’re in direct violation of DOMA,” Akin told CNSNews.com.

“When you see essentially laws being created or ignored by the executive branch, that says we are bordering on lawlessness,” Akin added.

The Defense Department advisory, which was announced by Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford L. Stanley, states:

“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,” Stanley wrote.

“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 or personal beliefs," stated the Pentagon. "Finally, a military chaplain’s participation does not constitute an endorsement of the ceremony by DoD."

Conservative groups in Washington were just as outraged as Akin at the flouting of federal law.

Obama

President Barack Obama speaks at a DNC fundraiser at Gotham Hall in New York, Tuesday, Sept., 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

“The Pentagon has clearly overstepped its bounds by declaring that military chaplains can perform same-sex marriages,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, said it is telling that the DOD memo, which was released jointly with Defense General Counsel Jeb Johnson, refers only to state and local laws.

The Obama administration, Sprigg said, is in full-scale rebellion when it comes to enforcing DOMA.

“We see this administration attacking DOMA within all three branches of government because they are supporting a bill in Congress which would repeal DOMA, they have announced that they will no longer defend DOMA in the courts, and in fact they consider it unconstitutional,” Sprigg said.

“And now, by whatever powers they have within the executive branch, they are also ignoring DOMA – all while saying that they would continue to enforce it while it remains on the books," he said. "It’s really rather breathtaking.”

Sprigg also said the Pentagon announcement comes as homosexual activists announced this week that they were gearing up to push for transgendered people to be accepted into the military.