It seems that Todd Akin just won’t quit, even after being soundly defeated by Claire McCaskill in November. His defeat was secured when he made the fatal flaw of spouting his false beliefs as facts – that women who are legitimately raped don’t get pregnant. The faux pas went viral, and his opponent won even before voting had begun. Even with all of that, he’s giving it one last go. This time around he’s taking on gays and lesbians in the military.
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, Todd Akin included a portion that would essentially neutralize the gains made by the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It would set up an environment of discrimination against gays and lesbians by those who had a religious objection to the sexuality of those who are LGBT. This is not the first attempt by Akin and other Republicans to roll back the gains that the repeal afforded. It was initially introduced in the 2011 House bill, the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act. The bill’s description is as follows:
To amend title 10, United States Code, to require that implementation of the repeal of the former Department of Defense policy concerning homosexual behavior in the Armed Forces not infringe upon the free exercise of religion by and the rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces, including chaplains, and for other purposes.
It’s written in such a way that it would make it look like those who oppose gays and lesbians would otherwise be discriminated against due to their religious objections. The fact is, there is already a protection for military members’ religious beliefs. A letter by the ACLU to the chairman on the Committee on Armed Services rightly surmises that this is a solution looking for a problem.
The 2011 bill never passed, and it was also left out of the first vote on the military authorization bill. However, what seems to die a quiet death is being brought back to life one more time. It’s being reintroduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA). It is quite ironic that as McKeon is attempting to introduce a social issue into what is mainly a budget bill, he previously criticized Democrats for doing the same thing. It seems that reality has not set in for some Republicans that their backdoor ways are no longer acceptable. Common sense is once again coming back in vogue.
Perhaps Akin’s amendment will be passed in the final version, but it’s doubtful. It seems that anything that his name attached to it eventually fails. Let’s hope this provision is left out, and that Todd Akin’s last attempt to damage the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is soundly neutralized.