July 7, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
House votes to reaffirm DOMA in defense spending bill

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) introduced the amendment reaffirming DOMA (Photo courtesy wikimedia)

The U.S. House approved on Thursday an amendment reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act as part of major Pentagon spending legislation.

Lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment, which was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), by a margin of 248-175 as part of the fiscal year 2012 defense appropriations bill. The amendment would prohibit the use of Pentagon funds in contravention to the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

The measure comes on the heels of guidance the Navy issued in April stating military facilities could be used for same-sex marriages in states where it’s legal and chaplains could officiate over these ceremonies, if they so chose, in their official capacities. The Navy has since rescinded this guidance and said further review is necessary.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, rebuked the House in a statement for adopting the anti-gay measure as part of the defense appropriations bill.

“This amendment is completely unnecessary and only serves to cloud the debate over ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal by pointlessly injecting the issue of marriage equality into the conversation,” Solmonese said. “Since Pentagon officials have made it clear that they are bound by DOMA like every other federal agency, it’s puzzling why Rep. Foxx would question whether our military leaders understand this point.”

Solmonese called on the Democratic-controlled Senate “to reject the House’s return to using LGBT Americans as a wedge issue” in its version of the defense appropriations bill.

Six Republicans voted against the amendment: Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Mario Diaz-Balart, Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

Additionally, 19 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment: Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), James Matheson (D-Utah), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Nich Rahall (D-W.V.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

The defense appropriations bill is different from the defense authorization bill, which was earlier approved by the House. An authorization bill permits the appropriations of funds for a department, but doesn’t allow the department to cut a check or enter into a contract. An appropriations bill, however, confers budget authority on federal agencies to incur obligations.

The House version of the defense authorization bill contains a similar measure reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act as well as other anti-gay measures. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, left out these provisions in its version of the legislation.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

5 Comments
  • Obviously, the gay-bashing “Blue Dog” Democrats who betrayed the LGBT community need to be replaced with Progressive Democrats who will be supportive. Its important to beat these clowns in primaries before the general election, because if you can deny them the nominations they will obviously be going away, regardless of how the vote goes in a general election. The actions of the GOP members who voted to screw us over is no surprise and we should always be voting against the GOP’s rotten candidates anyway. The six Republicans who voted on our side didn’t surprise me either, as they all represent fairly liberal districts and could be replaced in the next election if they vote like the other Republicans. Now its up to the spineless members of the U.S. Senate to remove the rotten additions that the GOP added to the unrelated defense bill, and if that fails there is always the small chance that Obama would veto the tainted bill.

  • OK, so, tell me again, in this time of government overspending and huge deficit, why do we have a defense “appropriations” bill, which is separate and distinct from a defense “authorizations” bill, for EVERY SINGLE DEFENSE MEASURE (now the single LARGEST departmental drain on our economy, EVER, in HISTORY!) that is presented to the legislature as a bill? Am I just an idiot, or does this really not make any sense (at taxpayers expense)? WAKE UP, PEOPLE! DURING YOUR NAP, THE GOVERNMENT HAS LEARNED HOW TO REDUNDANTLY FUCK US !!!

    • We have an appropriations bill to define how much money is set aside for various parts of the budget. We have an authorization bill to grant permission to spend it. There is nothing redundant about it. Perhaps before you rant, you should read.

  • @Will – The government has been redundantly fucking us for decades. How about income tax, state tax, sales tax, property tax, gas tax, road tax, etc. it’s ridiculous how much these a-holes are screwing us while enjoying their golden parachutes and free medical. I say, get rid of the golden parachutes, have congress pay for their own medical and have voters decide their salaries. And most of all, term limits. It’s time to take back government from the criminals.

  • Peter the saint

    Obviously, our lawmakers have been crying out for help recently: they need much more guidance from the American people regarding what they can and can NOT do — should and should not do. i.e. they need more stop signs… speed limits… green lights, yellow lights, red lights.

    We need a simple constitutional amendment banning ANY amendments to very large ticket-item budgets, especially such as the yearly defense budget. Year after year, lefties and righties alike attach way too much to the defense bill.

    Make this a big STOP! stop sign… no more, no longer. You want a law? Write it up and submit it for approval, like any other. The children in congress need much more discipline than we have been giving them— capiche?

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