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Obama Signs Defense Bill, Including 'Ill-Advised' Provision That Protects Anti-Gay Chaplains from Performing Same-Sex Marriages

President Obama late Wednesday signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the major defense budget bill, along with a signing statement objecting to a few elements in the legislation, including a "conscience" provision which protects service members from being forced to perform same-sex marriages or other duties that might offend their religious believes.

ObamaWrites Obama in the signing statement:

Section 533 is an unnecessary and ill-advised provision, as the military already appropriately protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains and service members. The Secretary of Defense will ensure that the implementing regulations do not permit or condone discriminatory actions that compromise good order and discipline or otherwise violate military codes of conduct. My Administration remains fully committed to continuing the successful implementation of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and to protecting the rights of gay and lesbian service members; Section 533 will not alter that.

Read Obama's full signing statement, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. "Good order and discipline" is another totally overused catchphrase that needs to die

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 3, 2013 8:06:58 AM

  2. I wonder what Chuck Hagel thinks of that provision.

    Posted by: calvin | Jan 3, 2013 8:12:10 AM

  3. I read that the original anti-gay provision inserted by Akin was watered down by the joint House-Senate reconciliation committee so that it simply restated existing law. It's unnecessary, but it's also toothless.

    Posted by: BZ | Jan 3, 2013 8:49:18 AM

  4. OK, so this says that military personnel can believe what they want and express what they want, as long as they do not act on it the in any way that compromises good order and discipline or otherwise violate military codes of conduct. Sounds very Catholic: you can be a homosexual in your heart, just do not act on it. So chaplains can now refuse to minister to bigots, and other personel can verbally abuse bigots without fear of repercussions. The anti-gay members of the military were going to get away with this anyway, at least this levels the playing field.

    Posted by: Phil M from Silver Spring | Jan 3, 2013 9:41:36 AM

  5. Doesn't it seem like anyone with such a strong moral and religious set of beliefs should have more of a problem with, oh I don't know, killing people?!?!

    Posted by: e.c. | Jan 3, 2013 9:52:41 AM

  6. Why would ANY gay military person want an anti-gay chaplain to perform their wedding ceremony?

    Do they also invite people who hate them to their parties?

    Posted by: johnny | Jan 3, 2013 9:59:40 AM

  7. These comments are an apologist round up.

    Posted by: John | Jan 3, 2013 10:10:49 AM

  8. IF Commander-in-Chief Obama's "Administration remains fully committed to ... protecting the rights of gay and lesbian service members" why has he ignored pleas for the last two years to order the Pentagon to stop ARBITRARILY discriminating against both individual gay service members and gay military couples?

    Every gay service member is still officially denied the protections against harassment and discrimination in, e.g., job assignments and promotions of the Military Equal Opportunity Program automatically given to NONgay blacks, women, et al., and every gay service member and his/her partner is officially denied multiple benefits NOT banned by DOMA. With respect, Mr. President, isn't it time you stopped talking out of both sides of your mouth?

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 3, 2013 12:40:15 PM

  9. well, despite being an agonstic bordering-on-Atheism, I'm planning on getting married in a Mormon temple while my ceremony is performed by a Catholic Priest, and I wanna make sure it's one of the ones that realllllly hates gays.

    Because on a wedding day we gays sure do love to make sure we're surrounded by bigots and have our ceremonies in cathedrals of intolerance.


    Oh, also, rather than inviting beloved family and friends as guests, i'm going to invite complete strangers who actually hate gay people. YOu know, like I'll force a sunday school class to attend my wedding, and lots of small town Baptist families. Like, i'll FORCE them to attend. Because that's possible.

    is this literally what these folks think is going to happen without bogus provisions?

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 3, 2013 1:08:22 PM

  10. The conscious provision was watered down completely. Also as we see here, Obama has issued a directive stating the Pentagon will step in if discrimination does occur. So hopefully we don't see any anti-Obama hate because he did step up for us here.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 3, 2013 2:53:48 PM

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