Navy Will Perform Same-Sex Marriages
The military establishment, it appears, is willing to drag congressional Republicans kicking and screaming into the post-Don't Ask, Don't Tell era. The US Navy has authorized its chaplains to perform same-sex marriages on military bases in states that legally recognize such unions. That news came in a memo from the service's head chaplain (PDF), dated April 13:
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 a state that permits same-sex marriage or union; and if that chaplain is, according to the applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages...if the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage. This is true for purely religious services (e.g., a chaplain blessing a union) or a traditional wedding (e.g., a chaplain both blessing and conducting the ceremony).
The policy's unlikely to have a significant impact on gay or military communities: There's no naval base, for example, in Iowa, one of five states (along with the District of Columbia) that recognize same-sex marriages. And until the DADT repeal is certified by the Pentagon, no service members are likely to be hitching up at the Washington Navy Yard. Not only that, chaplains who disagree with gay marriage on theological grounds are under no obligation to perform the ceremonies, which shrinks the pool of willing wedding officiators to virtually nil.