Pentagon nixes plans to allow same-sex weddings on Naval bases

Just days after the public learned that Navy chaplains could perform same-sex marriages on bases located in states where gay marriage is legal, Pentagon officials have revoked the policy.

In an April 13 memo, Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd, the Navy’s chief of chaplains, said that same-sex marriages would be allowed at military chapels in states that recognize same-sex marriages once the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay military personnel ended.

The memo also said that Navy chaplains who opposed same-sex marriage could refuse to officiate, but that “generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation neutral.”

Following an outcry from right-wing religious extremists, however, a Pentagon spokesman said on May 11 that military lawyers were reviewing the policy.

The anti-gay Family Research Council said in a statement that permitting same-sex marriages at military chapels would make it “even more uncomfortable for men and women of faith to perform their duties” as military chaplains.

Congressional Republicans said they plan to introduce an amendment that would prohibit the use of Defense Department facilities for same-sex marriages, even if state law permits them, the Washington Post reported. The amendment would also bar military chaplains and other DOD personnel from officiating at gay marriages.

Another amendment expected to be introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., would expand the process of ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” by requiring President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen to obtain certifications from the heads of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy before lifting the ban, according to WaPo.

These amendments “represent a not-so-subtle attack upon the senior leadership of the Department of Defense,” said Aubrey Sarvis of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.