With the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy repealed, its branches have been forced to update their positions regarding same-sex couples. One such update includes the Navy now okaying its chapels to be used for same-sex marriages. But despite the repeal, some say the move could violate current federal law.
As CNS News reports, "the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains has decided that same-sex couples in the Navy will be able to get married in Navy chapels, and that Navy chaplains will be allowed to perform the ceremonies -- if homosexual marriage is legal in the state where the unions are to be performed."
That's a change from the Navy's previous position, and has been broadcast in an April 13 memo issued to chaplains.
Section 2.a of the memo says:
The memo is signed by Chief of Navy Chaplains, Admiral Michael Tidd, which revises the branch's Tier 1 training manuals that had previously banned such marriages on federal grounds.
A Navy spokeswoman confirmed to CNS News that the memo is valid, however she said the document “does not reflect a change in policy, but a change in Tier I training for Navy chaplains that looks forward to when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is removed." According to here, that won't happen until 60 days after the president, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify to Congress that repeal will not harm military readiness.
At least one representative says the move could violate the Defense of Marriage Act, the law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, which the Obama administration has now stopped defending.
“Offering up federal facilities and federal employees for same-sex marriage violates DOMA, which is still the law of the land and is bound to the duties of our military, including chaplains,” Steve Taylor, communications director for Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), told CNS News.
“The administration and various states may be operating as if DOMA doesn't exist, but the Navy and Marine Corps and all the Armed Services are sworn to obey the law, which this new instruction violates,” he added.
Read more reaction at CNSNews.com.
Read the full memo here.