Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS), member of the House Armed Services Committee, Persian Gulf War veteran and the only noncommissioned officer concurrently serving in Congress and the National Guard, successfully shepherded an amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act through the House Armed Services Committee this evening. Specifically, the Palazzo amendment provided reinforcement and clarity for current federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as it applies to military installations.
"The administration's recent actions have created uncertainty regarding ceremonies permitted on military installations," Palazzo stated. "This amendment is intended to clear up any doubt and reinforce DOMA's authority as it applies to those installations."
Palazzo advocated for the amendment before the late-night full committee gathering, stating that because Department of Defense facilities are federal property, they already fall under the jurisdiction of DOMA. The amendment states that no military installation shall be used for "marriage or marriage-like" ceremonies involving anything other than "the union of one man with one woman." Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), joined Palazzo in offering the amendment.
"The Defense of Marriage Act was clear in defining marriage for purposes of the federal government," Palazzo stated. "This amendment does nothing else but clarify for the Department of Defense that this standard should be upheld on military bases."
The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It limited federal recognition of marriage as existing only between one man and one woman.
The Palazzo provision, passed the Committee by a vote of 37-24. After tonight's markup, the FY2013 NDAA package will come before the House floor for consideration as early as next week.