On May 11, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee approved a $553 billion military spending bill and a series of anti-gay amendments intended to stall the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal process. The White House released today a Statement of Administration Policy on HR 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, and criticized the anti-gay GOP amendments.
Key sections of the SAP:
While there are many areas of agreement with the Committee, the Administration has serious concerns with several provisions that: (1) constrain the ability of the Armed Forces to carry out their missions; (2) impede the Secretary of Defense’s ability to make and implement management decisions that eliminate unnecessary overhead or programs to ensure scarce resources are directed to the highest priorities for the warfighter; or (3) depart from the decisions reflected in the President's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns, a number of which are outlined in more detail below.
Attempts to Prevent, Delay, or Undermine the Repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell": On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, in order to strengthen our national security, enhance military readiness, and uphold the fundamental American principles of fairness and equality that warfighters defend around the world. As required by that statute, DoD is diligently working to prepare the necessary policies and regulations and conducting educational briefings to implement the repeal. Should it be determined, as required by the statute, that the implementation is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention, then the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will send forward the required certification. The Administration strongly objects to any legislative attempts (such as section 533) to directly or indirectly undermine, prevent, or delay the implementation of the repeal, as such efforts create uncertainty for servicemembers and their families.
Military Regulations Regarding Marriage: The Administration strongly objects to sections 534 and 535, believes that section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory, and supports DOMA’s repeal.
The amendments included California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter's proposal to require that service chiefs certify that implementation of DADT repeal will not compromise military readiness. The Hunter Amendment passed 33-27 mostly along party lines.
Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade explains the marriage-related amendments:
Rep. W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) introduced an amendment mandating that marriage ceremonies on military installations must comply with DOMA and that chaplains can only officiate in their official capacity over such ceremonies if they comply with the anti-gay law...Another amendment came from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), whose measure restated that the definition of marriage under DOMA as a union between one man and one woman applies to Defense Department regulations and policies. [...]
The Hunter Amendment has a strong likelihood of passage by the Republican-dominated House. But even if passed, military leaders say DADT repeal training should be completed and certified by midsummer. There is also strong opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The White House did not indicate or issue a veto threat.