Same-Sex Weddings Allowed on US Navy Bases
The news yesterday that the U.S. Navy had cleared the way for its Chaplains to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies is not surprising following the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT). DADT is a rule of conduct which simply requires gay members of the military to keep their sexual orientations private. Navy Chaplains have been told they may perform these rites in chapels on military bases inasmuch as they are in accordance with states in which same-sex unions are recognized.
[UPDATE: The Navy has reversed it's initial decision. From the AP: Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, said his earlier decision has been "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."]
The reports about this fundamental change in military philosophy include the caveat that DADT is still in effect until new rules about how to deal with same-sex military relationships are implemented. It looks like same-sex couples will soon receive all the benefits and honors once reserved only for traditional marriage.
The new guidelines from the Navy are not without opposition. Representative Todd Akin, chairman of a U.S. House subcommittee that oversees Navy and Marine Corps programs, has had to remind the designers of the new guidelines that they violate the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Since military bases are federal property this presents a conflict for those Chaplains who are inclined to perform same-sex ceremonies. Representative Akin and 62 of his Congressional colleagues sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy demanding that they remain obedient to DOMA.
The memo outlining the new guidelines for Navy Chaplains also said that none would be forced to perform same-sex weddings if they were personally opposed to such an act.Continued on the next page