A conservative legal group has threatened to sue should the Senate defense authorization bill not include provisions that would ban same-sex weddings on military facilities, the Washington Postreports.
Though the House on Thursday passed its version of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act with an amendment that would bar such weddings at military chapels -- as well as prohibit military chaplains from performing weddings for same-sex couples in their official capacities -- the Senate has not yet taken up the bill (it is expected to begin debate next month).
Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said at a Thursday press conference in Washington, D.C. that he has "no doubt that legal action will be required," should the Senate not include the same antigay language.
Nimocks' threat of a lawsuit comes after a May 23 letter from 21 conservative Christian denominations to the chiefs of chaplains for the Navy, Army, and Air Force. The religious groups expressed concern with a now-suspended Navy policy allowing same-sex couples to wed on bases, and to allow military chaplains to officiate. That policy, they wrote, went "beyond this stated intent of DADT repeal by sanctioning and normalizing the use of base chapels for same-sex unions."
"When guidance ... is forthcoming from senior leadership that implies protected status for those who engage in homosexual behavior and normalizes same-sex unions in base chapels, any outside observer would conclude that both homosexuality and homosexual unions officiated as marriages in base chapels are normative," they wrote. "This creates an environment that is increasingly hostile to the many chaplains--and the service members they serve--whose faith groups and personal consciences recognize homosexual behavior as immoral and unsafe and do not permit same-sex unions."
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