Todd Akin's last hurrah: A way around the DADT repeal

The Congressman's "conscience clause" amendment to the NDAA reportedly gets a second chance

Jillian Rayfield
December 19, 2012 3:19AM (UTC)

Todd "legitimate rape" Akin will not be returning to Congress next year, but he may go out with a bang if his push for a way around the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" gets more traction.

Akin added a provision to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would create a "conscience clause" for members of the military, essentially allowing them to cite their religious beliefs as cover for discriminating against gay and lesbian service members.


Akin's proposal was passed by the House in May with the rest of the NDAA, but it was dropped out of the Senate's version of the bill, which passed earlier this month. But now the bill is back in conference, and Republicans are reportedly pushing to put Akin's amendment back in.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., both of whom vehemently opposed the DADT repeal, are negotiating the conference, and are "pushing pretty hard" to get Akin's provision back in, according to a House Democratic aide, who spoke with Mother Jones.

Adam Serwer of Mother Jones reports:


Under Akin's proposal, a service member could cite his or her religious beliefs on homosexuality for refusing to serve alongside gay and lesbian colleagues, or for treating them differently from everyone else. For example, a service member could object to being housed in the same facility as someone who is gay or lesbian. Akin says this provision is necessary to prevent service members from "being persecuted for their views," but the language could allow the persecution of service members on the basis of their sexual orientation.

"The Armed Forces shall accommodate the conscience and sincerely held moral principles and religious beliefs of the members of the Armed Forces concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality and may not use such conscience, principles, or beliefs as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment," the original amendment said.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Don't Ask Don't Tell Gay Rights Missouri Todd Akin U.s. Military

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