Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Gay Marriage | Michael Mullen | News

Pentagon Gives Military Chaplains Green Light On Gay Marriage

Armyhands One of the most contentious issues about Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal has revolved around marriage equality.

Though at least one branch of the armed services, the Navy, said it would allow gay marriages after the discriminatory law's repeal, which happened on September 20th, officials later said "no go" to such events.

Now, the Pentagon announced today that military chaplains are free to preside over same-sex nuptials, both on and off government bases.

From The Washington Post:

Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn’t required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs.

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.

Meanwhile, in related news, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen told NPR's Steve Inskeep that there have been no problems since DADT's repeal, though admits there are still many wrinkles to be ironed out, especially in terms of normalizing benefits.

"The question I get is about benefits. And there are some benefits, clearly, that are -– that accrue to the change which has already taken place, and there are other benefits which are brought up which are directly tied to DOMA, which is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a law in the country -– and we follow the law," he said.

"And until -– if and when that changes –- I mean, we’ll follow whatever law is out there. Right now -– so there are benefits that DOMA has tied up by virtue of what -– the details that it specifically lays out and so until that changes, there’s not going to be any change to the benefits."

Listen to audio of Mullen and Inskeep's chat, AFTER THE JUMP...

Audio via ThinkProgress:

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  1. Even though it clearly states that chaplains aren’t required to officiate the weddings if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs I already know that the liars at FRC and others are going to say that this violates religious freedom. They almost can’t open their mouths anymore without lying. In truth they are the ones that want to deny religious freedom by stopping chaplains from accepting faiths from having the freedom to officiate these weddings. The military should be allowed to launch a legal suit against groups like the FRC when they deliberately lie about the change in policy.

    Posted by: bill johnson | Sep 30, 2011 11:52:47 AM

  2. The question of benefits for SS couples may become the driving force to overturn DOMA. Gay military personnel are second class citizens still but not for too long I hope.

    Posted by: Married in MA | Sep 30, 2011 12:17:13 PM

  3. I hope this policy sticks.

    Posted by: Jacob Z Flores | Sep 30, 2011 12:55:15 PM

  4. 1. Between the marbles in Mullen's mouth is the fact that the Pentagon is CHOOSING to deny some important benefits to gay couples that THEY admit are NOT banned by DOMA such as access to military family housing—and their excuses don't mask the fact that they're yielding to homohating brass asshats and those among the rank and file.

    2. They can legally get away with that—as well as denying gay troops crucial protections against harassment and discrimination "on the job" under the Military Equal Opportunity Program because of the story that is inexplicably missing from the Road: the historic betrayal by the Administration in convincing the 9th Circuit to vacate the LCR case ruling that discrimination by the military based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Or are we waiting for the Road's legal puppy excuse me beagle to clock in with another of his disingenuous contortions trying to explain to us how that—and handing a future Repug Prez on a silver platter the power to reinstate a ban—is somehow GOOD for us?

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Sep 30, 2011 2:10:11 PM

  5. Is this some sort of backdoor way of getting the federal government to recognize same sex marriage? If so Obama may be a lot smarter than I thought.

    Posted by: MT | Sep 30, 2011 3:53:52 PM

  6. @ Michael Bedwell,

    Your first point is an obvious lie. Of course access to military family housing for same-sex married couples is banned by DOMA. Since 1997, the General Accounting Office has used the following to define the scope of DOMA:

    "1,049 federal statutory provisions classified to the United States Code in which benefits, rights, and privileges are contingent on marital status or in which marital status is a factor"

    Obviously, access to family housing for married couples falls under that definition. All the more reason for the DOJ to file aggressive briefs against DOMA, like the one they filed on July 1, 2011. Don't you ever get embarrassed by lying so blatantly, Bedwell?

    Posted by: Artie | Sep 30, 2011 8:26:39 PM

  7. So MICHAEL BEDWELL, just what are you doing to support the repeal of DOMA?

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 30, 2011 8:28:40 PM

  8. The notion of ritual untouchability is still used to discriminate against a caste in India and against blacks and gays in the USA. When the military decided to stop discriminating against blacks it told bigots to shape up or ship out. However, when it decided to drop DADT, it gave the option to religious bigots (chaplains) to continue discrimination against gays.

    Posted by: Roedy Green | Sep 30, 2011 8:55:09 PM

  9. @Roedy Green

    Catholics won't marry Protestants in their churches. Baptists won't marry Catholics or Mormons. Jews won't marry Catholics or Protestants. Muslims won't marry non-Muslims and so on. Other than UUs very few religious groups will marry atheists.

    I'm really missing how gays and blacks are singled out in your scenario? Religion is not some big panacea. The Unitarians will marry pretty much anyone because its in line with their "universalist" religious philosophy. Some Episcopal churches will marry gays, as will some non-denoms.

    Saying that Catholics are discriminating against gays is leaving out the fact that they also won't marry Baptists in their church.

    The right to marry (as a legally binding contract between two people) is one issue.

    A religious ceremony is another.

    The fact that the military is saying: go ahead and marry who you want is a big step.

    In fact, there wasn't even a breather between "Yay military! for DADT repeal success" and "you're discriminating".

    This is a HUGE bureaucracy with many factors playing into all policy decisions. Benefits are pretty much the only things the troops have over other government employees. The taxes are done differently--I mean, it would take years, literally to figure all of that in when the Federal government refuses to budge on marriage.

    The government will have to make the first move before the military can.

    However, IF military shows no signs of retention problems and recruitment stays the same this would be a HUGE boon for gay marriage and other issues of equality because it will send a sign to Federal lawmakers that this CAN happen without chaos and anarchy prevailing and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse showing up.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 30, 2011 9:26:47 PM

  10. In the military, we used to do drag marriages as a joke.

    Now we're supposed to take them seriously.

    But it's just matrimony in "black-face"--- a spoof of heterosexual marriage, the biggest difference being a comic cluelessness among the caricatured.

    Posted by: billb | Oct 1, 2011 7:51:08 AM

  11. @ Billb,

    I clicked on the link to your webpage, which is full of homophobic evangelical Christian idiocy. Then I reread your comment above. When you were in the military, you "used to do drag marriages as a joke"? Did you really now? Do you understand that you're the textbook definition of a self-loathing gay man? If anyone is clueless it's you, and I don't mean that your clueless about "the issues." I mean you're clueless about yourself. "Drag marriages as a joke." What fun you must have had.

    [Laughing My F*cking Ass Off]

    Posted by: Artie | Oct 1, 2011 2:15:22 PM

  12. @ Michael Bedwell,

    One little bit of criticism directed at the substance of your claims and you sulk in silence like a Girl Scout who can't seem to sell any boxes of cookies. Intellectual coward.

    Posted by: Artie | Oct 1, 2011 2:19:33 PM

  13. am 30yrs old male staying in denial here in Kenya as per the by laws so lonely and ready to commit should i get serious person ready for long lasting bond,
    my email address:

    Posted by: African Top | Oct 3, 2011 3:59:55 PM

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