HRC Blog

House Votes to Defund DADT Training They’ve Never Seen

The U.S. House voted 236-184 this morning in favor of an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to the Defense Appropriations bill that bars the use of funds to implement training on the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law for chaplains.  The amendment was introduced in response to an April memorandum from the Navy Chief of Chaplains (subsequently withdrawn for further review) that correctly concluded that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act does not bar a chaplain from voluntarily officiating at a lawful marriage of a same-sex couple, even at a Department of Defense facility. 

In floor debate on the amendment yesterday evening, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) elicited from Rep. Huelskamp that he had not even seen the DADT repeal curriculum itself and had only requested a copy from Defense Department officials that day – the same day he filed his amendment.  Transcript of the amendment debate:

Rep. Polis: Has the gentleman from Kansas read the training manual that he is seeking to defund in this case?

Rep. Huelskamp: Madam Chair, that is an excellent question. We tried to obtain a copy of that from the Department of Defense today and they refused to provide a copy. What I do have is an online three-page summary of the manual.

Rep. Polis: So, reclaiming my time, I think that the straight answer is no. In fact, our ranking member and others have been unable to get that from the Navy Liaison’s Office.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:

“In their continued zeal to interfere with the repeal of DADT and micromanage the Defense Department, House Republicans have reached a new low by voting to strip funds for trainings that they have not even read.  By all reports, training for DADT repeal has been proceeding smoothly and the memorandum that they have found so concerning has been withdrawn.

“Apparently the House vote last night to needlessly restate that DOMA is still the law of the land wasn’t enough.  Now, led by Rep. Huelskamp, a majority of the House has voted to overrule military leaders about personnel training without even bothering to read that training first.

“It is now up to the Senate to reject this farcical political gamesmanship that disrespects the Pentagon, our fighting men and women, and LGBT Americans.”

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