GOP senators propose bill to let military chaplains opt out of performing same-sex marriages

"The Defense of Marriage Act remains law, and as policy changes are implemented by the Department of Defense, the statute must be followed," Wicker said Tuesday. "This legislation also protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains who are serving our nation in the Armed Forces."

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"President Obama and his administration are dismissing their responsibility to uphold the law of the land by unilaterally deeming DOMA unworthy of enforcement," Inhofe added. "At the same time, since the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, they have begun to pressure military chaplains to fall in line with their liberal same-sex marriage agenda.

"This bill protects military chaplains from being forced to go against their conscience and religious beliefs in regard to this issue. This is something the chaplains that serve this country need and deserve."

In 2011, the Defense Department authorized military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages in states that recognize same-sex marriages. But under the bill, military chaplains could not be forced to perform a ceremony "if the chaplain objects for reasons of conscience."

It says the military "shall accommodate the conscience and sincerely held moral principles and religious beliefs of the members of the armed forces concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality and may not use such conscience, principles, or beliefs as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment."

It also says that "no member of the armed forces may direct, order, or require a military chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain."

It also prohibits marriage ceremonies or "marriage-like ceremonies" at military facilities that are not between a man and a woman.

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