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SLDN Statement on H.R. 3828

New bill would ban same-gender ceremonies on military installations, require unneeded regulations

For Immediate Release:
Friday, January 27, 2012

Contact:
Zeke Stokes: 202.621.5406 or zeke@sldn.org

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)  Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director, Army Veteran Aubrey Sarvis, released a statement today regarding the introduction of new legislation that would ban same-gender marriage on military installations and require new regulations related to chaplains and other military personnel.

"Here they go again with another round of resistance tactics that have already been rejected by Congress and the American people. There is no need for the so-called 'protections' in this bill or the proposed regulations.  No chaplain today is being required or pressured to marry anyone, straight or gay. Period.  The bill's ban on use of military facilities and chaplains officiating at ceremonies for gay and lesbian service members is nothing more than plain, old-fashion discrimination.  There is no place for that prejudice in our armed forces or in our country," said Sarvis.

The full text of the bill, introduced by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) is below.  
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H.R.3828 -- Military Religious Freedom Protection Act (Introduced in House - IH)

 

HR 3828 IH

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3828

To amend title 10, United States Code, to require that implementation of the repeal of the former Department of Defense policy concerning homosexual behavior in the Armed Forces not infringe upon the free exercise of religion by and the rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces, including chaplains, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 25, 2012

Mr. HUELSKAMP (for himself, Mrs. HARTZLER, Mr. HULTGREN, Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio, Mr. CANSECO, Mr. NUNNELEE, Mr. AKIN, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. LATTA, Mr. JONES, and Mr. KING of Iowa) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services


A BILL

To amend title 10, United States Code, to require that implementation of the repeal of the former Department of Defense policy concerning homosexual behavior in the Armed Forces not infringe upon the free exercise of religion by and the rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces, including chaplains, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Military Religious Freedom Protection Act'.

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND CHAPLAINS.

(a) Protection- Chapter 53 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1034 the following new section:

`Sec. 1034a. Protection of rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains

`(a) Protection of Rights of Conscience- The sincerely held religious or moral beliefs of a member of the Armed Forces concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality shall be accommodated and shall not be the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment. Nothing in this subsection precludes disciplinary action for conduct that is proscribed by chapter 47 of this title (the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

`(b) Protection of Chaplains- (1) A military chaplain is a certified religious leader or clergy of a faith community who, after satisfying the professional and educational requirements of the commissioning service, is commissioned as an officer in the Chaplains Corps of one of the branches of the Armed Forces. A chaplain is a representative of the chaplain's faith group, who remains accountable to the sending faith group for the chaplain's religious ministry to members of the Armed Forces, to--

`(A) provide for the religious and spiritual needs of members of the Armed Forces of that faith group; and

`(B) facilitate the religious needs for other faith groups.

`(2) A military chaplain shall not be directed, ordered, or required to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain or contrary to the moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain's faith group. The refusal by a military chaplain to perform a duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain or contrary to the moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain's faith group shall not be the basis for any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.

`(c) Regulations- The Secretary of Defense shall issue regulations setting forth guidance to implement the protections afforded by this section.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1034 the following new item:

`1034a. Protection of rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains.'.

SEC. 3. USE OF MILITARY INSTALLATIONS AS SITE FOR MARRIAGE CEREMONIES OR MARRIAGE-LIKE CEREMONIES.

A military installation or other property owned, rented, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of the Department of Defense shall not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.

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ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination.  Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,000 requests for assistance. To learn more, visit www.sldn.org.

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100.

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