Military Religious Freedom: House vs. White House

In a statement threatening to veto a military bill in the House of Representatives, the White House identifies a religious freedom provision as objectionable. 

Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) inserted text similar to the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act (H.R. 3828) in a broader Defense Authorization bill currently before the House.  That language is intended to protect military chaplains and other service members from censorship and intimidation based on their religious beliefs, specifically convictions about “the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality.”  Another provision reserves military properties only for matrimonial ceremonies consistent with the federal definition of marriage as “the union of one man with one woman.” 

In a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP), the White House objects to both “because those provisions adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law.”

Consideration of the House Defense Authorization bill is expected to conclude this week.  The Senate will then take up its own version.

  • Read Rep. Akin’s comments about this conscience protection language.
  • Read the White House SAP.
  • Find a Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty letter supporting the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations