Anti-Gay Amendments Dropped from Defense Bill; Sodomy Ban Stays

According to a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference committee report released today, several anti-gay amendments have been dropped from the Defense bill.

SarvisServicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis reacted in a statement, providing details on the changes

The report drops language from the House version introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), chaplains' participation in same-gender marriage ceremonies, and access to military facilities.  It includes language introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) related to chaplains.  Meanwhile, it does not include repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to sodomy.

The Washington Blade adds:

LGBT advocates had railed against the Akin amendment as an extension of DOMA beyond the restrictions that are already imposed by the anti-gay law. Its adoption would have rolled back Pentagon guidance issued on Sept. 30 saying military chaplains could officiate at same-sex weddings if they so chose and military facilities could be involved in such events. The Hartzler amendment was seen as simply redundant to existing restrictions under DOMA.

Instead of these provisions, conferees settled on a provision found in the Senate version of the bill that Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) added by amendment on the floor. The language allows chaplains who don’t wish to perform same-sex weddings to opt out of doing so.

Said Sarvis:

"We congratulate the House and Senate conference committee for having struck the correct balance on the chaplains provisions.  Clearly, there was no place for the restrictive Akin language as the Defense Department continues to move forward on effective implementation of open service in our military. This report demonstrates that a majority in Congress remains committed to, and in lock step with the Pentagon, in ensuring that we stay on the repeal course adopted by the last Congress and signed off on by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. There was no back tracking in the conference report on this front.

"Additionally, our initial reading of the committee's decision to update the provisions for rape and sexual assault in Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is also positive. 

"However, we are very disappointed that the conferees voted to keep the sodomy provisions in Article 125. Dropping Article 125 has been recommended for more than a decade by SLDN and several groups, including the Cox Commission that includes distinguished legal scholars from the military and academia, as well as the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG).  The Senate was right to take this action, and it is unfortunate that their attempt to end Article 125 did not prevail. SLDN will continue to work with the Senate, House, and Department of Defense to bring about  this needed change."


  1. says

    Great! Sodomy SHOULD be banned. After all, biblically speakin, Sodomy is the act of selfishness wherein one does not share their abundant wealth, suppplies or provisions with those in need.

    Ezekiel 16, folks. The “Sin of Sodom” was greed, as explicitly stated in the bible, and i for one think it’s fantastic that they’re banning this type of hoarding greedy selfishness.

    Wait….what’s that? This isn’t what they’re talking about? They’re referring to specific male-male anal sex and calling it “Sodomy” even though there’s not one single mention of male-male sex, let alone anal sex, in the entire story of Sodom?

    well that doesn’t make any sense. Thanks, Republicans!

  2. Karl says

    How pointless. Even Scalia in his charming choice of phrasing admits a constitutional right to sodomy. Of course he’d rather outlaw it. I wonder how he’d feel about a ban on his masochistic Opus Dei torture devices?

  3. Michael Bedwell says

    Yes, Article 125 still needs modified but NOT repealed to better reflect realistic and fair application. In fact, it’s already never applied alone anymore—only in instances of what military lawyers have come to refer to as ***”prejudicial sodomy.” As the Navy’s repeal implementation training materials explain:

    “[Sodomy is stilla punishable offense] only in limited circumstances. Unrelated to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces found that private, consensual sexual activity, to include consensual sodomy regardless of sexual orientation, is a protected liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment. Consensual sodomy can only be punished [in the military] if it is [***]prejudicial to good order and discipline, service discrediting (e.g., in public, between a superior and a subordinate) or there are other factors involved in the commission of the act such as force, coercion or involvement of a minor. This was true before repeal and it remains true now.”

  4. Inis says

    @Little Kiwi: Actually, Article 125 of the UCMJ isn’t “referring to specific male-male anal sex.”

    Article 125 is silent on gender, so the law’s ban on anal AND oral sex applies even if it is between a man and a woman. Nice, huh?

  5. says

    @INIS, haha BEAUTIFUL!

    can you imagine the massive change in sociopolitics we’d experience if the “religious right” actually stuck to their own logic and tried to ban the majority of the world (ie, The Straights) from oral sex?

  6. bierce says

    “The language allows chaplains who don’t wish to perform same-sex weddings to opt out of doing so.”

    Does that mean that chaplains are absolutely required to perform all opposite-sex marriages they are asked to do? Why not just say that no chaplain can be punished for declining to perform a marriage? That takes the homophobic language out of the bill and should satisfy the anti-gay hysterics who are concerned about this silly non-issue.

  7. craig fox says

    why wouldn’t the supreme court ruling on male-male sex as entitled to the right of privacy apply to the military. There is no exception for such in that ruling.

  8. Mary says

    Kiwi, I’m confused. Why would the Christian Right want to ban oral sex? Although I could see why they’d wish it was only practiced by married people (not that this is a realistic dream.) I’ve never even heard such a thing hinted at in 30 years of reading various right-wing literature. Not to get overly graphic here, but life would sure be a lot duller without oral sex.

  9. says

    The NDAA if passed will only go to further stifle our Constitutional Rights without the approval of the Americans, just as the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year are attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at

  10. says

    Mary, biblically speaking any sexual activity done that cannot lead to procreation is “sodomy”.

    oral sex is, biblically, a Sin. It’s using the sex-organs for pleasure.

    Unless one can point to scripture where it says “it’s Holy for a woman to suck a man’s cock and only sinful if two men do it” then they have no argument.

    against gay sex? then you have to be against heterosexual oral sex, sex with condoms, and mutual masturbation as well.

    but hey, that would require the Religious Right to be consistent with their chosen “logic” and they’re not, nor will they ever be.

    Right-wing Christians have excuses for everything but intelligent reasons for NOTHING.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you show me and anti-gay Christian and I’ll show you someone who hasnt’ had oral sex in decades.

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