Once the military's ban on gays serving openly is lifted, Navy chaplains will be permitted to officiate at same-sex marriages and civil union ceremonies on base, according to the Chief of Chaplains Rear Adm. Mark Tidd.
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As DADT Ends, Navy Sanctions Same Sex Marriages on Base

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Once the military's ban on gays serving openly is lifted, Navy chaplains will be permitted to officiate at same-sex marriages and civil union ceremonies on base, according to the Chief of Chaplains Rear Adm. Mark Tidd.

MILITARY BASES SANCTIONED FOR CIVIL UNIONS

Tidd signed a memorandum released in 2011 stating that an ordained, state-sanctioned chaplain may officiate same-sex, civil marriages on military bases where civil unions are legal.

The memorandum was posted by the conservative website Media Research Center, as an update to chaplain-training guidance since the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," (DADT) which had banned openly gay military service members from serving in the U.S. military.

The chaplain-training memo goes further, allowing base facilities to be used to celebrate the marriage, given that the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. Celebrations are defined as religious services, for example, a chaplain both blessing and conducting the ceremony.

CHAPLAINS CHOOSE TO MARRY OR NOT TO MARRY

Maintaining religious freedom for Navy chaplains, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Alana Garas emphasizes that chaplains will not be required to officiate at same-sex messages if it conflicts with their religious faith.

OPPOSITION AND DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT

Conservatives who oppose sanctioned civil unions on military bases stated that it violates the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Sea-power subcommittee, noted that same-sex marriages on military base is in direct conflict with DOMA, claiming it would be a violation to use federal property and federal employees, like Navy chaplains, to perform marriages unrecognized by federal law.

DOMA STANDS BEHIND RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez responded to the opposition using legislative fact, stating that DOMA does not limit the type of religious ceremonies a chaplain may perform in a chapel on a military installation.



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