The Pentagon's Friday announcement that it would allow military chaplains to officiate same-sex weddings where such unions are legal is "a clear contravention of the law," according to one congressional opponent of "don't ask, don't tell" repeal.
"The Department of Defense has decided to put the White House's liberal agenda ahead of following the law," Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican from Missouri and chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said in a Friday statement, The Hill reports.
"The Defense of Marriage Act makes it clear that for the purposes of the federal government, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman," Akin said. "The use of federal property or federal employees to perform gay marriage ceremonies is a clear contravention of the law."
In June, the House passed the annual defense spending bill with an amendment authored by Akin that would bar same-sex weddings on military facilities.
The Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill. Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told The Advocate last week at a Capitol Hill news conference that he and fellow senators who supported DADT repeal would oppose any similar amendment in the Senate bill should one arise.
Akin's statement comes after the Pentagon clarified in two post-DADT repeal memos that a military chaplain "may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law."
Participation in a private ceremony is not a requirement, a Pentagon official wrote, nor does it constitute "an endorsement of the ceremony" by the Defense Department.