Senate Passes $662 Billion Defense Authorization Bill

By Matt Cover | December 15, 2011 | 7:17 PM EST

M1A1 Tank. (AP Photo)

( – The Senate passed the 2012 Defense spending bill Thursday on a 86-13 vote, funding the Defense Department through the end of the fiscal year with $662 billion.

The House passed the bill Wednesday night on a 238-136 vote, splitting the Democratic caucus evenly 93-93.

The bill did not contain a repeal of the prohibition against sodomy and bestiality in the military that the original Senate-passed version did. That provision was stripped out during a House-Senate conference committee at the behest of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Earlier versions of the bill had earned a veto threat from President Barack Obama over provisions that limited the administration’s ability to hold terrorism detainees. Those provisions were modified to give the government more flexibility in handling terrorism suspects and the White House withdrew its veto threat on Wednesday.

Originally, the Senate-passed version of the bill contained an unreported provision to repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the law that governs the conduct of members of the armed services.

Article 125 prohibited sodomy and bestiality among members of the military – a target for homosexual activists. Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the pro-gay Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN) said that it was a disappointment that the repeal of the sodomy ban failed.

“The Senate was right to take this action, and it is unfortunate that their attempt to end Article 125 did not prevail,” Sarvis said on Wednesday.

House Armed Services committee sources told’s Pete Winn that the Obama administration had “made its pitch” for overturning the ban against sodomy, but that lobbying effort failed.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sodomy is “anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex” and can also apply to “copulation with an animal.”

The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

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