Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin Now Going After Gay Troops
Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican who scuttled the GOP's chances of holding the Senate with his remark about "legitimate rape," and who predicted that same-sex marriage would lead to the collapse of civilization, has one last task before leaving the House: undercutting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
In May, the House approved a version of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that includes a religious "conscience clause" authored by Akin. The measure purported to protect the religious liberties of service members by preventing them from being punished on the basis of their religious beliefs "concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality." The provision is broad, and LGBT rights supporters fear it would permit discrimination against gay and lesbian service members. 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.
"It carves out a set of special rights for those who would want to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation," says Allyson Robinson, an Army veteran and executive director of the LGBT rights group Outserve-Service Members Legal Defense Network. "What this language does is make it less clear to that unit commander on the ground how they should implement Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal."