Theodore's World: Navy Authorizes Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex ‘Marriages’ in Naval Chapels Then Navy Changes Mind and Halts Move To Wait For Pentagon To Check Legality For All States

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May 11, 2011

Navy Authorizes Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex ‘Marriages’ in Naval Chapels Then Navy Changes Mind and Halts Move To Wait For Pentagon To Check Legality For All States

Obama Stops Defense Of Anti-Gay Marriage Law

The Obama administration has recently made it official, it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

According to Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama has affirmed that the administration can’t defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He stated that the congressional debate regarding the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships – precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus” the Constitution is designed to oppose.


Navy Authorizes Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex ‘Marriages’ in Naval Chapels


Anticipating the elimination of the military ban on homosexuality, the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains has decided that same-sex couples in the Navy will be able to get married in Navy chapels, and that Navy chaplains will be allowed to perform the ceremonies -- if homosexual marriage is legal in the state where the unions are to be performed.

The advisory came in the form of an April 13 memo issued to all chaplains, in which the Chief of Navy Chaplains, Admiral Michael Tidd, said the Chaplain Corps was revising its Tier I training manuals, which had previously indicated that same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property.

Instead, Tidd called for chaplains to comply with service-wide efforts underway to be more accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage as the end of the military policy on homosexuality nears.

Citing "additional legal review" by Navy attorneys, the admiral said the Navy "has concluded that, generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation neutral.”
“If the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then the base facilities may be used to celebrate the marriage,” the admiral’s directive states.

The admiral’s memo also gives chaplains permission to "marry" homosexual couples – but would not force them to perform ceremines.

“Regarding chaplain participation, consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization, a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with the laws of the state which permits same-sex marriages or union; and if the chaplain is, according to applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages.”


Navy halts move to allow gay unions by chaplains


Under pressure from more than five dozen House lawmakers, the Navy late Tuesday abruptly reversed its decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same-sex unions if the Pentagon decides to recognize openly gay military service later this year.

In a one-sentence memo obtained by The Associated Press, 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 Navy said its lawyers wanted to do a more thorough review of the legal decision that allowed Navy chaplains to receive training to perform civil unions on military bases, but only in states where same-sex unions are legal.

Military training to apply the new law allowing gays to serve openly began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by midsummer.

House members wrote to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to object to the Navy's initial ruling, saying the service was violating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act by appearing to recognize and support same-sex marriages.

That law defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, and it also says states don't have to recognize gay marriages performed in other states where they are legal.

"We find it unconscionable that the United States Navy, a federal entity sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, believes it is their place alone to train and direct service members to violate federal law," said the lawmakers' letter, which was signed by 63 House members.
The lawmakers asked Mabus to direct the Navy to defend the Constitution, adding that individuals should not be allowed to pick and choose the laws they will follow.

The Navy's decision triggered an uproar, particularly since the Army and Air Force had not made similar decisions, and there was no overall Defense Department guidance issued on the same-sex union issue.

Navy officials had said Monday that they updated the training after questions came up about civil ceremonies for gay couples.

In earlier training guidelines issued by the Defense Department and the military services, same-sex ceremonies were not mentioned and therefore not explicitly prohibited.

When first asked about the Navy's decision to allow the training, the Pentagon said the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not restrict the types of ceremonies a chaplain may perform in a chapel on a military base. And officials have repeatedly stressed that the military would not compel chaplains to perform a same-sex union if it was against their religious beliefs.

The military dust-up comes against the backdrop of the Obama administration's decision in February to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time that President Barack Obama concluded that the law was unconstitutional.

The Pentagon has been moving carefully to implement the repeal of the 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. Under the law passed and signed by the president in December, final implementation would go into effect 60 days after the president and his senior defense advisers certify that lifting the ban won't hurt troops' ability to fight.

Under the Navy's initial ruling, the civil union ceremonies would be allowed at military facilities such as chapel and catering centers, but only in states that already recognize same-sex unions.

And even if a same-sex union ceremony is performed, same-sex partners would not get any health, housing or other benefits that are provided to married couples involving a man and woman.

The Air Force and Army did not include discussion of same-sex union ceremonies in their training.

Under Pentagon guidelines, chaplains and other key military leaders were among the first tier of service members to be trained about the new law repealing the ban on openly gay service. Much of that instruction has been completed, so the Navy will send out updates to include the same-sex union ceremony provision.


Wild Thing's comment........

This all makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 11, 2011 04:50 AM


Right now, gay couples won't be assigned base housing but if the Navy performs gay weddings, how can they deny housing to "married" gays?

It'll be interesting when two males start sucking face in the Club some night.

Posted by: BobF at May 11, 2011 07:45 AM

I can't believe we are even have this conversation. They can't get the bar any lower before they will be accepting same family members cohabitaing together, i.e., brother and sister, or somebody and their goat, really where do you draw the line. This is an open ended disaster.

Posted by: Mark at May 11, 2011 02:25 PM

Sure looks like he is getting ready to kiss him.

Posted by: Dave 18zulu at May 11, 2011 09:01 PM

Bob, I think there will be a lot of fights and the ones that will be blamed will be the straight people serving even if they fought to keep the person off them.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 12, 2011 04:09 AM

Mark, I know, this topic would not even come up if it had not been for obama and his agenda. I agree too Mark this is an open ended disaster.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 12, 2011 04:11 AM

Dave, it sure does. It has been around for a year I think.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 12, 2011 04:13 AM

Is this unit the pink panzers? Or is that too Butch for this unit?
This is worse than the Admiral who thought that we could put women on the submarine crews. (We could but there are only three bathrooms on a Trident Submarine shared by 180 men. We figured about $200,000,000 a piece to put in another bathroom and another toilette.
Mind you we did it for seatrials but that is fixed length of time and it took all sorts of special procedures. Couple of women engineers in Junior officer quarters for ten days is not the same as an assignment.

Posted by: Avitar at May 12, 2011 11:06 PM