Obama Administration Objects to Antigay Military Amendment

By Daniel Reynolds

Originally published on Advocate.com June 12 2013 2:37 PM ET

The Obama administration has voiced “serious concerns with certain provisions” of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014, including an amendment that would limit discipline for antigay harassment in the military.

Advanced by Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, the provision in dispute, section 530, would prohibit officers from administering “adverse personnel action” for any “actions and speech” rooted in “conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs.”

LGBT activists have labeled this amendment, which was introduced by Louisiana Republican John Fleming, a “license to discriminate,” saying it would give service members and military chaplains more freedom to harass gay and lesbian troops, up until the point such actions “actually harm good order and discipline.”

In response, the White House released a statement of administration policy Tuesday that lambasted section 530 and other areas of concern.

“The Administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, ‘actions and speech’ reflecting the ‘conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member,’ the statement read. “By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.”

President Obama has threatened to veto the act if this and other provisions are not changed.