House votes to prevent violations of Defense of Marriage Act

The House has approved an amendment to the 2013 defense spending bill that would prohibit the Department of Defense from using any money in the bill to violate the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The amendment, from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), was approved 247-166, one of dozens of amendments the House was considering before approving the entire bill late Thursday night. The amendment was supported by 17 Democrats, and just five Republicans opposed it.

King said the language, similar versions of which have passed the House before, is needed because of President Obama's growing support for same-sex marriage. King said that support is permeating the federal government.

"We saw the president of the United States make some statements along the way that his position was evolving on marriage," King said. "That seemed to be a signal to the Department of Defense, who issued two memorandum [sic]."

DOD issued memos last year saying certain military facilities might be used for same-sex marriage, and that military chaplains may officiate in same-sex marriages. King said those policy changes violate DOMA, under which the federal government recognizes marriage as being between a man and a woman.

"Pretty simple statute being contravened by the directives of the president of the United States as exercised through the secretary of Defense," King said.

Most Democrats opposed the amendment; before the vote, however, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) said DOMA is still the law, which means same-sex military spouses are limited in the federal benefits they receive.

"This amendment is being offered for purely political reasons," Dicks said.

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