Navy drops same-sex marriage guidelines

Washington Post / May 12, 2011

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WASHINGTON — The Navy is revoking guidance to its chaplains about conducting same-sex marriages at military chapels following an uproar by Republican lawmakers and social conservatives contending the move would violate a law prohibiting federal recognition of gay marriage.

Despite the decision, military officials said that the Defense Department may still eventually permit gay troops to use military chapels in states that recognize homosexual marriages for same-sex weddings after President Obama lifts the ban on openly gay service members known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.’’

In an April 13 memo, Navy Chief of Chaplains Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd said that same-sex marriages would be permitted at military chapels in states that recognize gay marriages once the gay ban ended.

Tidd said Navy chaplains would not be required to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies if it was inconsistent with religious beliefs.

Tidd said he issued the revised guidance after chaplains asked about same-sex marriage ceremonies during mandatory training sessions about the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.’’

But he reversed course late Tuesday, saying he was suspending his guidance “pending additional legal and policy review’’ and closer coordination with the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard.