Tell the House to Reject Amendments Allowing Religious Discrimination

Two amendments that allow religious discrimination in our military were made to the National Defense Authorization Act during the House Armed Services Committee hearing on May 8, 2012. We must ensure that these amendments are removed from the NDAA before final passage.

The amendments, offered by Representatives Akin and Palazzo, allow chaplains and members of the Armed Forces to discriminate against LGBT service members without repercussion and ban the use of military bases to perform marriage or commitment ceremonies for gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces.

Chaplains in our nation's military already have the ability to refuse to perform ceremonies or rites that conflict with their religious faith. These amendments, however, allow military personnel to speak out against religiously defined "inappropriate expression(s) of human sexuality" without fear of reprisal. Such harassment of LGBT servicemen and women has no place in our military.

Akin and Palazzo claim that his language was added to the NDAA as a "necessary protection of religious liberty." In a statement released by his office, Akin said that this language would protect servicemembers who "are facing recrimination for their sincerely held moral and religious beliefs." Opponents of this exception have called it a "license to bully" because it allows service members to express anti-gay and homophobic views regardless of their impact on the members of their unit as long as they use a religious justification.

Please tell your Representative that discrimination based on religious belief has no place in our nation's military and urge them to vote to remove these dangerous amendments before final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.