WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains may perform same-sex unions, whether on or off a military installation.
The ruling announced Friday by the Pentagon’s personnel chief follows the Sept. 20 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. According to CNN, a memo that was released on Friday reads:
“A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.
Further a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”
The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it’s not prohibited by state or local laws. This, of course, will bother some who stand opposed to gay marriage. The Wall Street Journal reports that Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, wrote the following in one of the memos:
“Private functions are not official activities of the Department of Defense. Thus, the act of making DoD facilities available for private functions, including religious and other activities, does not constitute an endorsement of the activities by DoD.”
In May, before the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Navy was forced into an embarrassing about-face when if first OK’d and then changed its mind on marriages on military bases.
Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.