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September 30th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages

By Charley Keyes, CNN Senior National Security Producer

Washington (CNN) - Ten days after the military dumped its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays and lesbians, the Pentagon has issued new rules allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages, but only if allowed by law and the chaplain's beliefs.

"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," a memo released Friday says.

"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 new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military went into force September 20. 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.

The new military rules on marriages must be in line with the Federal Defense of Marriage Act and local laws.

The latest two-paragraph memo, from Under Secretary of Defense Clifford Stanley, carefully stops short of fully embracing the idea of same-sex marriage, saying that "a military chaplain's participation in a private ceremony does not constitute an endorsement of the ceremony by DoD" (the Department of Defense).

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Military • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,195 Responses)
  1. Reality

    One more time:

    o All "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] ""Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages. See below:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse to all reality posts

      September 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • yeahalright

      I've read your post 3 times and I still can't figure out what the hel you're talking about

      September 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  2. Richard S Kaiser

    Most all do write anti-versioning totalitarian-styled adgendaships. Seldomly are ever written words of solemness and humilities. In writing, we have all gone for the throats of opposing perceptions, never even holding sway the wanton fornications of dastardly worded blasphemous contrivances. Always the throats always the throats,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    September 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • james

      Wow! Which refrigerator poetry magnets set did you string those sentences from!?

      September 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Duh

      "Which refrigerator poetry magnets set did you string those sentences from!?"

      It's called pseudo intelligence.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Sorry James et al but I get so damned mad at people who are not humble in their words and they promote one to be embittered and like me they do sout out! Guilty of damnation's lamentations,,,,,,

      September 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • james

      what a hoot! you're my new hero.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Observer

      Richard,

      You do better without the phony pretentiousness. It doesn't fool people.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • yeahalright

      English class, at your local community college, STAT would help you make sense when you're trying to make a point.

      September 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  3. Andrea

    But I digress... my point is, what business is it of mine to judge you or to say who you can or cannot be interested in? In the same breath, I do not recall inviting you into any aspect of my life- livingroom, kitchen, or bedroom, so what gives you the right to tell me to go away?

    The military is recognizing an error they made to deny their soldiers the ability to be "all that they can be" (army reference but it fit) This starts as recognizing the person the soldier is. No matter what orientation they are. Once the military was able to correct that error, it brought up a well-known issue in the LGBT community of the inequalities the families of military personnel face on a daily basis. The policy isn't perfect yet, but this is a step towards the right direction.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  4. xflyr

    Soooo, a soilder who kills the enemy of his country or gives up his life in a seconds to save comrades or in the defense of his country, is a bad person if he or she is gay? First of all, any actual proof that god wrote the bible....beeeep wrong answer! Man wrote it. Why is that history shows us that regligion was created by a group of MEN and has been used to spread more misery and death than any plague on this planet, but yet everyone runs around..."praise be to god and all he gave us!" Is being religous a form of mental illness?

    September 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      @xflyr
      Be patient with those who cling to religion. They are frightened of death and believe what they have been taught. This does not make them bad people. On the contrary they do many good and needed things. More than I do I am sure.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ xflyr,,,, et al,,,

      The 'communally' religious' seek and live upon a social structure and their needs to find endorsing lamentations is the same for any social construct be they druggies and thieves or even bigoted fools not to mention hypocritically lame. Of god we are and built by Gods are we made manifest and of GOD do we live inside. Gay or Lesbian or Bi is no different than a stray dog wagging their tail in freindships sakedness. Pet them ever so kindly and assure them it's not their fault for, "the Gods built me this way".

      September 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Central Scrutinizer wrote on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm, stating, "@xflyr Be patient with those who cling to religion. They are frightened of death and believe what they have been taught. This does not make them bad people. On the contrary they do many good and needed things. More than I do I am sure."

      It may well be true that religious folk are afarid of death yet they are also afraid of their children's sakedness in which many have strayed from being religiously solvent. It is also true that " they do many good and needed things". Much more than you or even I do. This world is of celestial contrivances of which we are yet to fully fathom let alone completely comprehend.

      We "as being" gods and goddesses or manhood and womanhood and even childhood will never fully fathom or understand the Gods, GOD's Sons let alone the lost histories of Theologic recognitions in the anceint days when the likes of Gaia, the Goddess called our earth and Uranus, the sky God made manifest by Gaia and who did fertlize Gaia to give seeds to all mannerisms of life we now know. So goes my mythological understandings,,,,,,

      "Have a wonderfilled Life Central Scrutinizer et al as well."

      September 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Julio

    All I am going to say is learn USA history. Know what is the foundation of America and most of the founder of this nation. Do you not see this nation moving away from the founder of this nation?? If you don't know who I am talking about? Yes is "God" His been warning America since 9-11. Turn back and come to awareness fella Americas our father in heaven is shouting from heaven "turn back to me almigrhy God"

    September 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—"
      – Treaty of Tripoli – 1797

      Sorry dude – not a Christian country.
      All the God references appeared in the middle of the twentieth century.
      Go read up on McCarthyism and then come on back to play.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Erik

      Doc's right. Also, Jefferson and Franklin, two major founding fathers, were atheists.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Steve-O-Matic

      1. The founders were against religion.
      2. If there really is a god, he is deistic and doesn't care what 6 billion simpletons think.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      @Julio
      My friend,

      In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
      Buddha

      September 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Julio

      I am not here to dis-respect anyone just though everyone should be aware were this nation is going. Jesus said I am the true the way and the life no man come the father but through me. Got has set 2 pathways. Choose wisely! Me as a chosen son of God I respect everyone no matter what they stand for. I just pray to God in Jesus name that he reveals what he has reveal to me to everyone that I come across in my path. So as you read this massage he will just do the. In the love of my lord Jesus Christ I say peace, love and joy be with you always. Thank you.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Julio et al,,,

      GOD not the Gods is Creations' Allness and the Holy Spirit is the Oceans of Nothingness whose bays and rivers and streams and creeks ebb and flow ever inwardly to encompass all things even the atom. Our Celestial Cosmos is built upon the Atomic Cosmos and the Holy Spirit which is Nothiness holds are manner of materialism at bay and in togetherness.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Julio et al,,, (Edited due typos 😦 )

      GOD not the Gods is Creations' Allness and the Holy Spirit is the Oceans of Nothingness whose bays and rivers and streams and creeks ebb and flow ever inwardly to encompass all things even the atom. Our Celestial Cosmos is built upon the Atomic Cosmos and the Holy Spirit which is Nothingness holds all manner of materialism at bay and in togetherness.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Julio,
      "God" His been warning America since 9-11."

      A couple of top Christian leaders said God supported 9/11 since we deserved it. Bush said he talks to God all the time and didn't warn him so that didn't do much good.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  6. I'm The Best!

    I feel as though banning gay marriage is the same as banning people with below average IQ's to get married. They were both born that way and can't really do anything about it. In fact, I think banning dumb people from getting married would actually be better for society as a whole because then the number of dumb babies should be reduced leading to the human race getting smarter as a whole.

    I see no upside to banning gay marriage and no downside to allowing it, so why are people so against this? If anything they should be for the banning of stupid people getting married, but then I guess most of them would be the ones not allowed to get married and they can't be descriminated against because they aren't the ones going to hell....

    Brought to you by an Atheist.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • USMarineGuy

      2 people that supported the same theory as you. Woodrow Wilson and...Aldolf Hitler...just sayin'

      September 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      A litmus test for existence?

      Eugenics is not a new idea.

      I believe it was invented by the Spartans

      September 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I'm not saying people with low IQ's shouldn't get married, I honestly don't care, I just thought it was a good example of how dumb this whole argument is. There really is no reason gay's shouldn't be allowed to marry.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Sean

      @ William Demuth

      And from all accounts it was very successful. As far as the Spartans go anyway.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  7. Paulo

    If they believe in God they most believe in the bible, therefore they should not marry or get marriage in a religious matter.
    If they don't believe in God... Then why are they messing up with people's religion? Do you wanna get marriage? Fine! Go to the government and they marry you!
    I'm so sick to hear that it is your right to do this, it's your right to do that...

    You know what: It's my right to do not corrupt God, His church and His priests just because of your selfish desire to be "United in Marriage". Dude, do you want respect? Respect us that have a belief and a conscience before God.

    I respect your decision to be gay, please respect my decision to be called christian.
    Paul

    September 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ed

      If you're sick over people having rights, you're in the wrong country.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Paulo
      Easy there, Trigger.
      I think you missed the part where it states "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."

      Nobody is forcing your church to stop condemning this and that from a fiery pulpit and be accepting of others.
      You can keep on with your hate unabated.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Erik

      Your religion isn't at issue and never should be. Be a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist or any other religion or non-religion. Both straights and gays should be able to get married because religion is irrelevant from a government standpoint.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • T-Rudy

      blah blah blah, you're a bigot.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • DUH

      "His church and His priests"

      LMAO – There are already gay priest and pastors in the Churches – DUH.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Paulo

      Sorry you guys, I didn't want to be rude.
      I just think that if religion is a problem when it comes to gay marriage, maybe the government should start to think about marriage with no religion involved.
      What do you think? Would not mess with 90% of the world beliefs (God)
      @Ed: I don't live and I'm not in the USA.
      @Doc Vestibule: You are right, I'm sorry I know that, no one is forcing them.
      @ Everybody: Would you Love and Accept me if I never think the same way you do?
      The same answer goes back to you.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • james

      @ Paulo, well... you see the "bible" is open to many interpretations. That's why we have so many denominations and so many groups all using the same book and coming out with completely different recipes for morality, spirituality, etc. For example, many people in America are very quick to say God hates gays. But often these are the very same people who commit any number of the 7 deadly sins or break one of the ten commandments (they certainly could find more to pick on of they want to look in the mirror!). And moreover, some people believe in God and yet DON'T believe the "bible." Those people aren't necessarily going to hell - God want us to believe His word - but He never said you have to "believe in My 'bible'". So why shouldn't Gay people who have faith in God as given by the teaching and practices of their religion be allowed to have a church wedding? In the end, Paulo (etal) why not just admit, it's not God nor his "bible" nor his "word" that you're really railing about against gays, is it? No. It's something a little more personal than that I think. That's all.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  8. Ravi311

    For all the idiots who like to use religion to justify their hate and yet know nothing at all about their religion, think about these unions from THE BIBLE:

    Between a man and his wife (who was a swinger) and her servant who she GAVE to him (Genesis 16:1-6)
    A rapist and his victim (Deuteronomy 22:25-29)
    Two wives (Genesis 4:19)
    God would give David MORE wives and concubines if what he had wasn't enough (2 Samuel 12:8)
    Wise King Solomon had 700 WIVES and 300 CONCUBINES (1 Kings 11:3)
    Abraham marrying his half-sister (Genesis 20:11-12)
    Lot having a three-way with his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38)

    September 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Paulo

      Who is the hater?
      "For all the idiots who like to use religion to justify their hate and yet know nothing at all about their religion"... Dude get a life... an if you want to talk about the bible please know it first.
      Which one of those examples you mention were from the new law? (New Testament)
      Next time you call people (that you don't even know) haters, and idiots... please note to do not right it in this way... if not people will never believe you hahaha
      If you wanna be gay it's no shame on it, just respect gay people been more polite.
      BTW you have a good point there, they had many wives, although they were almost destroyed because of it.
      Respect to be respected too. have a good one.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Erin

      Your argument has no merit, Ravi. Learn a little something about hermaneutics and the New Testament, please.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Observer

      Erin,

      Not much of an answer. Pretending the Old Testament doesn't exist doesn't cut it.

      September 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  9. UrAverageJoe

    Oh great Stu – blow my theory! I tried to type s-ex without the hyphen and it didn't accept it!

    September 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      ˙sןןıʞs ןɯʇɥ ʇɥƃıɹ ǝɥʇ doןǝʌǝp noʎ ɟı ʇuɐʍ noʎ ƃuıɥʇ ƃuıʞɔnɟ ɹǝɥʇoɯ ʎuɐ ǝdʎʇ uɐɔ noʎ

      September 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. USMarineGuy

    Ac-tually Gek-aap, that is ex-actly what I'm sa-ying. Get of-f this two par-ty sys-tem and just fol-low the consti-tution. Rest-ricting mar-riage by g-ay cou-ples is unconsti-tutional.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Rooster

    You do know that the MAJORITY of kids that are aborted come from CHRISTIAN families?

    September 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @William Demuth

      Abortion is god's plan for the unwanted.

      Cheers!

      September 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Thank GOD for abortions!

      If you don't love your kid enough to let it be born, PLEASE do not think I give any damn at all about it.

      We already have to many mouths to feed.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  12. dfg

    our military is screwed now...i dont blame anybody getting out of the military now because of this.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Erik

      You're being dramatic. We're the 30th country in the world to sign on to this – hardly progressive of the US.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Ravi311

      The military that I'm a part of is doing just fine with this. Are there some that don't like it? Sure, but they're still doing their jobs like they've always done because they know that their service comes before their opinions.

      Also, are you IN the military? If not, SHUT IT.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Former Soldier

      I worked with several gay and lesbian soldiers when I was on Active Duty a few years ago, and it did nothing to hurt my unit's morale. It's about time the Pentagon and Congress let them be who they are and serve as equals, not as if they had some sort of dirty secret. The removal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will only strengthen unit cohesion overall. The only people that will have a problem with this are people who let bigotry do their thinking for them, and I wouldn't have wanted someone like that guarding my back anyway.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Sean

      @dfg

      Such a drama queen!

      September 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  13. USMarineGuy

    Actually Gekaap, that is exactly what I'm saying. Get of-f this two party system and just follow the consti-tution. Restricting marriage by gay couples is unconsti-tutional. This movement is nothing more than the Left's approach to everything. Enti-tle the country into sla-very.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  14. Joe Army

    The military lets gays in now? Since when? I thought there were laws against that sort of thing????

    September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Observer Too

      Wow. For one things gays have always served in the military. They just don't tell people they are gay. That is why the Don't Tell, Don't Ask was put into place in the 1990s. Seriously? You think no soldiers were/are gay?

      September 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  15. Richard

    Although I agree, and am very proud because I am a gay American, I can only see the fire in the eyes of the elected bigots in Washington that are going to sit around sipping Whiskey and chatter about how they are going to change this.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  16. USMarineGuy

    Actually Gekaap, that is exactly what I'm saying. Get off this two party system and just follow the consti-tution. Restricting marriage by gay couples is unconsti-tutional. This movement is nothing more than the Left's approach to everything. Enti-tle the country into slavery.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  17. Chiniquy

    This is a continuation of the open opposition to G-D's Command for only men and women to mate and have children.

    The followers of the ancient Satanic scheme will not stop until they turn mankind away from G-D's Guidance.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chiniquy

      Don't sweat it.

      Only men and woman can mate and have children, so Jesus and his master plan to exterminate the human race are right on schedule.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  18. USMarineGuy

    Those who support the Liberal/progressive agenda are asking to be enslaved...true story.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • David, CA

      No- just your opinion. Please learn the difference.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • lilome

      Those who DO NOT support the Liberal/progressive agenda are asking to be enslaved...true story.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Erik

      Huh? Those who don't believe as you do are just wrong. Get real.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • USMarineGuy

      Its a party of enti-tlements. If you vote yourself these handouts you are stuck to forever vote for the party that will continue them. Slave.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chiniquy

      Unfortunately, there are more Sodomites among those who call themselves 'Conservatives' than among those called 'Liberals.'

      September 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • USMarineGuy

      Can't say I don't agree with you since there is no difference between liberals and conservatives in this country. Hard Left candidates can get promoted, yet Hard Right candidates cannot. So conservatives must move center to stand a chance. It's become that way because Progressives have garnered more and more of our citizens under some form of enti-tlement program. We've become a one party system already, so we are already slaves. Our Libertarian roots di-ed with FDRs New Deal

      September 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @USMarineGuy: So libertarians are against gay marriage and abortion? Because that's the only reason I vote against Republicans.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  19. diva

    Ok getting married in the military is just going too far

    September 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Gekaap

      Why?

      September 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • sybaris

      why? there's lots of married people in the military

      September 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • diva

      I have been active duty for 11yrs and I have many gay friends. Even though iam a christian and we are taught against gay lifestyle. But honestly my realist friend and best friend are gay men. I have. Loved them and accept their lifestyle and their partners. But I have also been dual military and I know its not all roses. Often dual military have marital drama that affects a soldiers work performance. But as a senior leader I can't imagine trying to help two male or females work out their relationship problems . I think gay drama is a little excessive and no time for that when we have missions to accomplish that affect life or death I.e. deployments. I see it causing too much distraction.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • DUH

      "I think gay drama is a little excessive and no time for that when we have missions to accomplish that affect life or death I.e. deployments."

      typical stereotyping to justify your personal prejudices. Since there are far more straight couples and gay I would be the drama belongs to the straight group. You deal with it like any relationship in a professional setting you tell them to keep their issues at home and do your job! DUH!

      September 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Observer Too

      Wow what a generalization. "more drama" LOL All relationships have and cause drama. The relationship can be between a man and a woman, between two friends, between two siblings, between a man and man, and between a woman and a woman. The point is ALL relationships have drama. Just because two guys are dating doesn't mean their going to be more dramatic than Sally and Jim. Ridiculous statement Diva on a gay couple being more dramatic.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Observer Too

      Also it doesn't take a relationship to make a person lose focus, it could be caused by a significant death in the family, the loss of a friend, addiction, gambling, pretty much anything that causes issues for a person could make them lose focus.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  20. Gekaap

    As an ordained wedding minister and a former soldier, I applaud this development!

    September 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.