Abrupt Halt: Navy Suspends Decision to Perform Gay Marriages
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.
Under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, service members face dismissal if they revealed they were gay.
Benghazi, IRS, AP...What's next? Only TheBlaze TV offers the truth from Glenn Beck, Andrew Wilkow, and Real News from TheBlaze. Get instant access and a free trial here.
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 465 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 440 Comments
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 322 Comments
- See the First Behind-the-Scenes Photos as Beck and Mercury One Survey the Damage in Okla. 256 Comments
- Why Were DHS Agents Seemingly Monitoring Multiple Tea Party IRS Protests Across the Country on Tuesday? 252 Comments
- Teacher Admits She ‘Prayed Out Loud’ During Violent Tornado: ‘I Did the Teacher Thing that We’re Probably Not Supposed to Do’ Read More
- Farrakhan Talks of ‘Satanic Jews’ and ‘Synagogue of Satan’ at Detroit Church Speech — but Wait Until You Hear Who Was in Attendance Read More
- Biden Praises Jewish Leaders for Helping Change Americans’ Views on Gay Marriage Read More
- ‘Death! You F**k!’: Bat Mitzvah Chaperone Unleashes Explosive, Profanity-Laced Tirade Against Kids Over Candy-Throwing Incident Read More
- How Can God Let Tragedies Like the Okla. Tornado Exist? Pastors Weigh In 193 Comments
- China Sets off What Could Be the World’s Longest Demolition Read More
- Here are the 5 Most Interesting Moments from Tuesday’s Hearing on the IRS Scandal 129 Comments
- Jay Carney Shifts IRS Timeline (Again!) 104 Comments
- Top IRS Official at Center of Political Targeting Scandal Will Plead the Fifth 142 Comments
- Disgraced IRS Interim Chief Now Fully Admits Knowledge of Planted Question (but Did It Reveal a Past Half-Truth?) Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ Read More
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- Official: Treasury played no role in IRS targeting
- Trial for captain in deadly shipwreck in Italy
- FBI: Man shot dead in Fla had become violent during questioning in Boston bombing case
- Iran's Ahmadinejad denounces election decision
- Target's 1Q profit drops 26 pct on weak sales
- House panel seeks to curb military sexual assaults
- 'GMA' host Roberts to write memoir about illness
- Vienna official: Looted Nazi goods returned