Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) lost to Democrat Claire McCaskill in November and will soon leave the House of Representatives. Before he goes, however, Akin wants to push one last anti-gay bill to undermine the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
In May, Akin first proposed the anti-gay bill, essentially a "license to bully," for the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, according to Think Progress.
Akin's "conscience clause" would purportedly protect the religious liberties of military personnel who disagree with homosexuality. Under the bill, the U.S. military must “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," according to the Washington Blade.
The Senate passed another version of the bill in December, without Akin's anti-gay proposal, according to Mother Jones. Now, the Missouri representative is pushing for its final approval, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.). "They're pushing pretty hard," a House Democrat told the website.
Activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people said the amendement is broad enough to permit discrimination in the military, undermining the September 2011 repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“As a former military commander, I can tell you that allowing any service member to openly discriminate against a comrade in this way will compromise good order and discipline -- the very thing supporters of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ falsely claimed was going to happen back when we repealed the law," Allyson Robinson, an Army veteran and executive director of the LGBT rights group Outserve-Service Members Legal Defense Network, said in a statement. "The fact is, there are already strong protections for all service members, including chaplains, in place, and all this provision would do is create a license to discriminate. The next secretary of defense should not be saddled with a law that makes it harder for small unit commanders in the field to lead their troops."
In 2006, while speaking about marriage, Akin said: "Anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived." He has also consistently received a rating of 0 from the Human Rights Campaign for his opposition to LGBT rights.
In August, while speaking against abortions, Akin said "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Backlash over the remark cost him the election.