With the help of 77 Democrats, the House voted 299 to 120 in favor of a defense bill which includes the provision that single-sex marriage ceremonies will be banned from military facilities and clergy cannot be punished if they refuse to marry gender-segregated couples.
The bill addresses gay marriage with two provisions. One would ban performing gay marriages on any facility owned by the military. Another would protect military chaplains from punishment if they declined to marry a gay couple.
The Department of Defense had opened the door to gay weddings on bases in a memo last September after Congress repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which barred gays from openly serving in the military. The policy change said chaplains were allowed to perform same-sex marriages but noted they could not be required to. It is not clear whether any ceremonies have yet been performed in military chapels.
"Liberals may have successfully ended 'don't ask, don't tell,' but they should not be allowed to force members of our military to give up their religious beliefs," Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who wrote one of the gay marriage provisions, said in a statement. "That is simply unacceptable and unconstitutional."