Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 10, 2011

DADT Repeal: Navy Chaplains Authorized to Perform Same Sex Marriages; *UPDATE*

Another of my predictions about the consequences of repealing DADT has proven valid.  A Department of the Navy memo from 13 April indicates that Navy chaplains will be authorized to perform same-sex marriages on military bases in states where same-sex marriage is recognized.

Navy Times reports as follows:

The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Responding to questions about the law and the new policy in an email, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez wrote: “DOMA does not limit the type of religious ceremonies a chaplain may perform in a chapel on a military installation. Chaplains are authorized to perform religious ceremonies consistent with the practices of the chaplain’s faith group in chapels on military installations.”

This is transparently a dodge.  The other services – Army and Air Force; Navy policy on the chaplaincy applies to the Marine Corps as well – are not addressing the issue of same-sex marriages performed by chaplains on military bases.  But it is only a matter of time until they are forced to address it.

As the Navy Times article observes, members of Congress object to the Navy guidance, some of them stating explicitly that it violates DOMA.  But the Obama administration has announced that it will not defend DOMA in court, so it is not clear how Congress can proceed to prevent chaplains from presiding over same-sex marriages on military bases.

The obvious questions that will be raised include how such marriages are to be treated by the military, an agency of the federal government, and how they will be treated when the servicemembers are transferred to states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage.  These questions will be dealt with through lawsuits.

One lawsuit that is coming will be against a chaplain who declines to perform a same-sex ceremony.  The assurances of DOD spokesmen that chaplains won’t be asked to do anything inconsistent with their faith are meaningless.  Chaplains are federal employees.  There will be a judge somewhere who will accord a hearing to the argument that a chaplain has wrongfully discriminated.  The argument will be that clerics should be free to believe anything they want, but that the federal government should not allow them to discriminate in the performance of their duties if they are in its employ.

Don’t bet against it.  Two years ago, advocates for repeal of DADT pooh-poohed the idea that anyone wanted to use that as a wedge to attack DOMA and bring federal recognition of same-sex marriage in the back door.  But their statements have been proven invalid.  My predictions, on the other hand, are coming true.

*UPDATE*:  News outlets are reporting this morning (Wed 11 May) that the Navy has reversed this policy following a letter from 63 members of Congress objecting to it as a violation of DOMA.  It appears, for the moment, that the issue will have to be litigated from the same angle by which it will be approached in the other services.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


  1. What’s the legal justification for regulation by government at any level of marriage? How is the state involved in a voluntary contract between two individuals?

    • Chuck,

      Marriage is not, repeat not, a PRIVATE contract. It is a fundamental, very PUBLIC commitment that has been tortured by a dying society into a “contract”.

      Marriage is the fundamental social construct of all societies throughout human history. Never have those bondings been sterile. Whether polygamous… or monogamous the relationships have always been to maximize and optimize the raising of the next generation and the generation after that.

      Just for those who will cast into the excuse of monotheistic religion (Judeo-Christian tradition) the concept of monogamous marriage is Greek, and very possibly very early Greek. It helped to ablate the murderous asocial nature of wondering cliques of bachelors with nothing more to do than kill and loot.

      This is what “gays in the military” was all about. It had nothing to do with “equal” rights, and everything to do with destroying the traditional family. Odd how roughly 2 to 3% of the population has suddenly dictated a change in 5,000 or so years of human civilization.

      This isn’t private at all, and the long term effects (actually not too long, probably less than a few generations) will be social disintegration. I see it in my children’s schools…

      Insolent children raised by nobody in particular, with multiple loosely involved, and barely responsible “quasi-parents”. Boys who are so effeminate that they are almost girls. Hyper-sexualized girls trolling for love and affirmation because they have no fathers to tell them they are beautiful and not to conduct themselves in disgraceful ways. Boys with no respect for anyone; not authority figures, not the girls they pursue like hunters after deer, not themselves. Children of both sexes being abused by adults physically, sexually, emotionally… and then living desperate confused lives as prey for “chicken hawks” and other predators.

      I see it… it is far to common. This will be the last straw that will break the back of the family and tear apart this current iteration of Western Civilization.

      Gays in the military was always all about homosexual ersatz-marriage being imposed by the federal government, and all of the “trappings” to go with it.

      This was, as JE says, predicted. It will get much worse, and it will do it faster than anybody can imagine.

      :-/ TMF

      • you’re out there mighty where the busses don’t run and probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near schoolkids.

        Peabody and Sherman to you

      • A formal relationship between a man and a woman has been a feature of some (but not all) societies that predates the existence of any sophisticated kind of government. What we even today might consider “marriage” was found in the most primitive tribal societies. Government license was not required.

  2. About time. One wonders when the GOP will finally get with the times on this issue. For the sake of our country and our party, let us hope it is soon.

    • Welcome, OhYeah. My apologies for the delay in your comment’s appearance; there’s a one-time “approval” needed for new commenters. You’re “in” now.

  3. The Protestant chaplains will have the worst time. Roman Catholics may legitimately claim it is against their religion, but the old, mainline Protestants are either fuzzy on the issue, or actually embrace same-sex relationships. And if you are the Protestant chaplain on post, you are going to be expected to minister to everyone from the Southern Baptists to the Episcopalians. Among them, some couple is going to want a homosexual wedding.

  4. military chaplain’s should not be allowed to marry anyone.

    they should all be pure.

    authorizing military chaplains to perform their duties in conformance with military regulations and also in conformance with the laws of man observed in the various states of the union only weakens the laws of God who is the only entity that governs us all and following man-made law will only lead to licentious behavior and cause God to strike down upon the military’s chaplaincy and then throw all the sinning soldiery into the fiery pit and then will be defenseless and it will all be too late even for Cheneys to save us.

    woe and woe and woe to think that homosexual behaviorisms have infected our navy and our chaplains and only by becoming Iranians who have no homosexuals can the USA regain it’s spunk and serve God.

    • The answer to all of this concocted controversy is to separate marriage as a legal institution creating legal rights from its status as a religious institution.

      Every couple that wishes their union to create legally recognized rights and obligations should be obliged to go through a civil registration ceremony. If the law of the state concerned provides for same sex marriage, then this rule would equally apply to gay marriages.

      If the couple than wishes to have their marriage blessed by whatever religion is prepared to bless their marriage, let them go through such a religious ceremony. That is a matter between them and the religion concerned.

  5. The real point of turning gay marriage into a “right” is to turn anyone who doesn’t think Fuster’s mocking of opponents is funny into hate speech “criminals.” Just one more area of life for the left to control, one more set of terms for demonizing their enemies.

    • nah adam, the loons on the left are certainly loons, but try to tell me what is oppressive about working toward having the state allow equal consideration to marriage contracts between people of the same sex.
      what’s the damage to others not interested in such?

      • Part of the damage is that the *institution* of marriage, a bedrock of our civilization for eons, will be watered down. The result will be a diminishing of that cherished institution.

        It can be equated perhaps to a church. A devout Catholic goes to Catholic church for years, but then the church decides to accept Buddhists, Episcopalians, Muslims and Jews – and starts devoting part of the services to each of the new religions. Sooner or later that devout Catholic is going be resentful that his former Catholic church has stopped being strictly Catholic and has adopted an “everyone welcome!” policy. At this point, the principles of the “Catholic” church have been so diluted as to be meaningless. And that devout Catholic is so dismayed that he gives up on the Church altogether.

  6. Those who oppose the concept of gay marriage have the right to see the issue dealt with by due process of law, just as those who favor it do. What the Navy proposes to do is not due process of law.

    The law of the US federal government (DOMA) conflicts with what the Navy proposes to do. Adherence to due process of law would keep the Navy silent on the matter, like the other services, until Congress either changes the law or writes into federal law that chaplains are bound by DOMA and are not to perform same-sex marriages.

    This situation wouldn’t arise if Eric Holder had not announced that DOJ would decline to defend DOMA — duly constituted federal law — in court.

    Nothing about this situation has arisen through due process of law. That should alarm everyone. None of your liberties is safe when due process of law is trampled on.

    • What you have just written is meaningless mumbo jumbo.

      As I understand it, military clergy are authorized (they are not obliged) to perform same sex marriages in states where the law provides for same. Military clergy are no different than any other clergy under the law of the states in question. How this can possibly conflict with the law of the state concerned, or with military law, or with anyone’s legal rights, is beyond me.

      As Fuster memorably stated “you know nothing about law…..”

      On second thoughts you should stick to the mumbo jumbo. You do it so well…..

    • I don’t understand Paulite’s incomprehension of your well-stated point, but I do have a question about “fact finding.” The article below mentions the stay the Navy reluctantly agreed to, thanks to the letter signed by 63 members of the House:

      How can I find this memo and who signed it? Any suggestions?

      • The article says the memo was signed by RADM Mark Tidd, and that the Associated Press got a copy of it. I don’t know if AP will be publishing the copy, or if the memo itself will come out in another way at some point.

        Thanks for mentioning this, though. I had just seen the info that the Navy policy was suspended, and was going to add an update to this post this morning.

    • perhaps you want to say “process of law”. you put due in front of process, people might likely think you to be suggesting something different.

      I take you to mean that laws are being incorrectly applied or ignored or slighted by way of administrative (in)discretion or dereliction.

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