By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com May 18 2012 10:40 AM ET
Nancy Pelosi had strong words for a Republican proposal to protect military chaplains from performing same-sex weddings, calling the whole idea a "fraud."
"There’s nothing that says that chaplains act against their faith," the House Minority Leader said during a news conference Thursday, objecting to the suggestion from a reporter for a right-wing news site, CNSNews.com, that they needed a conscience clause.
“But by ordering the chaplains that don’t believe in performing same-sex marriages," the reporter followed up, "by ordering them to do that, do you think that is —”
“Nobody is ordering them to do that,” Pelosi interrupted, according to video of the exchange posted by CNSNews.com. “They can rest assured that if they don’t believe in that, they don’t have to perform those."
When the Defense Department issued guidelines last year that allow military chaplains to perform same-sex weddings on base, it included a stipulation that each chaplain has the right to decide whether to officiate and that it would be allowed only in states where such unions are already legal.
Republicans want an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would make it illegal for a chaplain to be required to perform a same-sex wedding, even though no one is requiring them to do so.
“It’s a fraud,” Pelosi said. “Welcome to the world of manufactured crises. Here’s one.”
She said Republicans were being irresponsible by proposing the amendment, which they did immediately following President Obama's endorsement of marriage equality.
“So I think that this bill, it’s a very serious bill, the Defense Authorization bill. It’s about the protection of our country. And to sprinkle it with almost scare tactics that somebody is proposing something that we have to prevent is really a frivolous exploitation of a very serious piece of legislation.”
On that same night, Republicans proposed a ban on same-sex weddings at all military bases. And they passed a bill that bars the Department of Justice from advocating for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Meanwhile, they argued successfully in the House against including gay and lesbian couples in reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.