Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Response to a Letter to Congressman Womack

Recently, I wrote Congressman Steve Womack (R - AR) to express my disappointment in his vote for the King Amendment to the Defense Authorization Act.  This amendment would ban any and all same-sex blessings on military installations.  This was his reply:

July 31, 2012

Dear Mr. Adkins,

Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding the King Amendment to H.R.5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013.  It is good to hear from you.
On July 19, 2012, the House approved H.R. 5856.  The bill provides $518.1 billion in regular funding for the Department of Defense and $87.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for defense activities related to the Global War on Terror.  It also includes an amendment introduced by Representative Steve King (IA-5) that prohibits funds from being used in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, established a federal definition for marriage and spouse. Under Section 3 of the law, marriage is defined as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.  Spouse is defined as a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.  DOMA also does not allow for federal facilities or federal employees to be used for same sex marriages. While I appreciate the benefits of your views, I do not believe federal funds should be used to perform marriages that are not recognized by federal law.
Thank you again for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding the King Amendment to H.R.5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2013. Please continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you and be sure to visit my website, www.womack.house.gov, for more information and to sign up for my newsletter.

                                                                       Sincerely,                                                                       Congressman 
Signature                                                                        Congressman Steve Womack                                                                       Member of Congress

He and I seem to be reading different versions of DOMA.  Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act states:"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."  This does not bar these acts from being performed, it says they don't have to perform them.  Two vastly different things.

Of course this does not surprise me.   I am a bit disappointed that he would try to slip that little hint of falsehood into his letter.  I have a feeling he and I are going to be great pen-pals over the next few months.