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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. Proud to be Gay

    The Idiots- the Bigots -the Raciists I am GAY. I am PROUD TO BE GAY. I don't beleive in your stupid god – I don't believe in your book of fables. This is a free country – supposedly!! Take you bible and shove it somewhere else!!

    October 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hugh Smith

      and you guys say Christians are the ones spreading hate ????

      October 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Dood

      If you hate the religions like you proclaim then why do you want to get married under a ceremony they created?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Dood, who says they want to get married by a fundie xtian?
      And the targets of his extreme dislike earned it to the nth degree.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  2. Peace2All

    These poor 'military chaplains.' How will they survive if they have to provide a same s-e-x marriage or civil service.

    Peace..

    October 2, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Joe

      Read the article again. They don't have to. They just have the option to now if they wish.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • That Guy

      The Chaplins wont perform those things, if they are truley followers of Christ they will politley tell them no. And no church will let that happen with in the walls. They can go get that done in a court house by a judge.

      October 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      ThatGuy,
      Or one of the thousands of churches that will quite willingly perform the ceremony.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Riley

      I doubt military chaplains will be given much of a choice. These people desire to be married, and it will continue to be an unsolved issue if chaplains standby. You can imagine how the higher-ups will respond to that.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I doubt anyone will try to force chaplains to perform such a ceremony or even wish one to do so against their will. Also, I doubt it will be all that hard to find one willing to do it anyway. I've met a few military chaplains and as counter-intuitive as it may seem they tend to be a little more open minded than average. Maybe comes from ministering to soldiers of many different faiths.
      I was married by a retired Navy Chaplain. The only thing he was tough about is that the wedding STARTED ON TIME. 🙂

      October 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  3. WOT

    Do you know what morality means! When wrong is right and right is wrong, says a lot about you people. Your way or no way! Get the dust out of your on closet. Most of these do- right folk never served their country or them self well! Gay or narrow, what path are you on!

    October 2, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  4. JohnQ

    Sickening. The morality of the US continues to erode...

    October 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Observer

      They've been saying that since the country was founded. Glad you finally got the word.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Rick

      Sure, JohnQ....just like when they let the whites marry the coloreds...

      October 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  5. Answer

    Evangelists have always wanted everything that they do not agree with to end in failure. Why you say?

    In having their opinion proven right they can justify their hate. Pure and simple.
    For those in loving committed gay relationships: do your best to prove these ignorant morons that your union is strong!
    I support your rights to your way of life. Don't let these idiots deter your rights to happiness.

    October 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  6. hippypoet

    Come one come all, see the fantasticly real god! feel its touch, warmth, the burn, feel the god that you have been without for so very long! come with me and you will see a true sight to behold more then anyother and the best part is, no special offerings are needed, no place of whorship, just an open hand of life and death. This is the one true god as we know any form of gods on earth. This is the one and only creation that can bring life and death by simple existence. It knows more about the history of our planet then our planet itself. It is what scorned the jews in the dessert not an invisible creation of man! This is what people see when they claim to have seen the light! Only two special days a year, and we get a bonus show of dissappearance and reappearance every so often. My God has shown me the path that lay before me, and said not to me to follow one or the other but instead left it upon me to make my own choice of which way to go. The most important thing about my God is that is has children, but they are not to be whorshipped as they are rivals in the cosmos for the love of my God. The closer you are to my God is not always the safest however, as is being the furthest away. Both have a negitive affect. My God knows math, and science, most importantly knows balance, and teaches without teaching. But my God does scorn the ignorant! Come and whorship with me that which has been whorshipped by the greatest people ever known, whorshipped the longest by the most people in history. Come feel the warmth of my God, and know what it is to live with God always there to shining a light on you. I call my God the SUN. Others have called it Aton the sun disk, but that was 3000 years ago in Egypt, even then the whorship of the SUN was an ancient one long forgotten by the Eyptians at that time. E ven if you wish not to follow belief is not needed as proof of my God is there, all around you, in every thing you touch shows its power.Oh and my God doesn't do to anyone differently then anyother, all shall recieve equal treatment. Go and be in the light
    i stand by my SUN. I know that there are a great deal more stars in the universe then the number you can state, but mine is the one that gives me, us, warmth, air, food, drink, basically – life- and so as i stated its MY GOD – THE SUN... i stated that there may be lesser gods on an earthly realm, but mine created the earth, and keeps it living. I preach its energy, and by transferrence becomes us and all living things on this planet. When it dies is when the memory of it begins if we as a species still exist, but long before its implosion it will engulf the earth during an expansion of the star, called a red gaint, just before going super nova, then finally poof- black hole lives for a split second, then again poof! I have an ok/whatever understanding of stars. The logic of whorshipping our SUN is beyond arguement, calling it a GOD is illogical but nessesary to gain a following as to move the civilization past the moronic idea of god as its currently understood.
    Oh my God can power a car so you have no need for earth based fuel. My God gives its power freely and to all creatures, we are stupid to not use it!
    using the law of conservation of matter and energy, the energy given off by the sun simply transferrs to us thru food and warmth, but the whorshipping goes beyond that. if the planet were even just a few hundred feet closer to mars we would be very cold all the time, if closer to the sun by equal distance, very very hot. so everything points to the sun as the true life giving object to whorship if you were to whorship anything- logically speaking!
    fear not my friends for all answers can be answered.

    October 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Two words: perihelion and aphelion. Look them up. (Don't use the dictionary Richard S Kaiser uses.) Come back and tell us all what you learned about the claims in your last paragraph.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • hippypoet

      John Richardson

      Two words: perihelion and aphelion:

      perihelion : the point in the orbit of a heavenly body where it is nearest the sun
      aphelion : the point in the orbit of a heavenly body where it is farthest from the sun

      to use those words is to ask the general public to be smarter, thats both an insult to the common man and an impossiblity untill we get better person to person leadership and invest in schools and money to the towns with functioning librarys, then find those without and build librarys. too many are well beyond dumb and act according, this needs to stop.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, rubbish to all of that. But in point of fact, I didn't say USE them, I said LOOK THEM UP. Once you see how vastly the distance between earth and sun varies at different points in the the earth's orbit, you will realize (or SHOULD) how silly the claims in your last paragraph are. I wouldn't care, except it is this sort of crackpot misunderstanding of basic science that tends to feed such creeping evils as the "theory" of intelligent design.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • hippypoet

      well John i did fail to state that i am an extremist, not in any harmful sense but i go to the extreme to prove a point by making outlandish comparisions, oh and i can't spell worth sh!t, but when i make mathematical judgement calls i always argue from the most and furthest possible end and ask what if... does my last paragraph make sense to you now. here, read it like this:

      if the planet when it is at its perihelion were even just a few hundred feet closer to mars we would be very cold all the time, if the planet when it is at its aphelion was closer to the sun by equal distance, very very hot. so everything points to the sun as the true life giving object to whorship if you were to whorship anything- logically speaking!

      is that better and more exact to how you need to read it for it to make sense in the literal sense.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • John Richardson

      No, hippypoet, you aren't getting it. If differences of 3.1 million miles don't make a significant difference, a few hundred feet extra either way won't either.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • hippypoet

      actually they do, you have to put into account the radiation burn off while traveling thru space and then add the amount to a new set of data every single foot. And with the few hundred feet we would fine ourselves in the astoriod belt's throw off's most outter ring, the area where we are lucky not to be because if we were the gravitional pull of earth itself would drag astoriods into our orbit and land causing massive damage... but you thought about all this before your reply right? I thought about it before my GOD is the SUN idea.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    Come one come all, see the fantasticly real god! feel its touch, warmth, the burn, feel the god that you have been without for so very long! come with me and you will see a true sight to behold more then anyother and the best part is, no special offerings are needed, no place of whorship, just an open hand of life and death. This is the one true god as we know any form of gods on earth. This is the one and only creation that can bring life and death by simple existence. It knows more about the history of our planet then our planet itself. It is what scorned the jews in the dessert not an invisible creation of man! This is what people see when they claim to have seen the light! Only two special days a year, and we get a bonus show of dissappearance and reappearance every so often. My God has shown me the path that lay before me, and said not to me to follow one or the other but instead left it upon me to make my own choice of which way to go. The most important thing about my God is that is has children, but they are not to be whorshipped as they are rivals in the cosmos for the love of my God. The closer you are to my God is not always the safest however, as is being the furthest away. Both have a negitive affect. My God knows math, and science, most importantly knows balance, and teaches without teaching. But my God does scorn the ignorant! Come and whorship with me that which has been whorshipped by the greatest people ever known, whorshipped the longest by the most people in history. Come feel the warmth of my God, and know what it is to live with God always there to shining a light on you. I call my God the SUN. Others have called it Aton the sun disk, but that was 3000 years ago in Egypt, even then the whorship of the SUN was an ancient one long forgotten by the Eyptians at that time. E ven if you wish not to follow belief is not needed as proof of my God is there, all around you, in every thing you touch shows its power.Oh and my God doesn't do to anyone differently then anyother, all shall recieve equal treatment. Go and be in the light

    October 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  8. Matthew - Bethlehem, PA

    "Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own."

    October 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      There is no difference.

      October 2, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  9. robers22

    I covercivil-military culture issues on my blog at http://civilmilitarygap.wordpress.com/ including the repeal of DADT

    I try to address issues effecting civil-miiltary relations as they emerge and appreciate any and all comments

    October 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Snowy

    Moving on, my neighbor is in luv with his cat and wants to marry the cat.
    purr...we hear some cat love going on..

    October 1, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Observer

      That's either an attempt to change the subject or an attempt at humor. Didn't work.

      October 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  11. Abiodun oladele

    Now i know and believe there are candidate for helfire. You and your co-opt better repent so that your sin can be forgiving you by God Almighty. But a dog that will lost will never hear the wristle of the hunter.

    October 1, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Daniel

      What?

      October 1, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Observer

      Calm down. Relax. Try it again in English.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  12. Reality

    One more time:

    "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 11:57 pm |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse on repeat reality postings

      October 1, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  13. Blessed Geek

    Woe unto you. It would be better that a millstone be tied around your neck and thrown over the cliff. You white washed piled up crap and decayed skeletons. You stumbling block.You choose the laws you wish to keep and ignore the laws you wish to break. You quote the Bible but have never devoted yourself to understanding the Bible. Hypocrites.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      theres nothing in the bible worth devoting ones self to

      September 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Scott - other

      No, I completly ignor the whole thing

      October 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  14. JohnnyJihad

    Sad days for our military....

    September 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  15. jmz

    can you imagine getting it put in there? why? the prostate exame is horrible enough, what is fun about that?

    September 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • dmz

      jmz = disgusting bigot. But he's thinking about switching and sounds like he may have already been trying it out.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Al

      JMZ=Just MenZ

      September 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  16. jmz

    why do gays hate hot girls so much?

    September 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      the obvious answer is because they take the guys

      September 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  17. Redneck louie

    that ain right

    September 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  18. Bosun

    "Military chaplains to perform same-se.x".

    Life as usual.

    September 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  19. Lisa

    I honestly can't believe the hatred in this country. I lived abroad for 16 years, just came back last year. I'm sorry I ever stepped foot back into this country – full of bigots and greed. I am ashamed of America. I pray everyday Obama will win the election in 2012 – maybe it will shutup the Haters – the Idiots- the Bigots -the Raciists I am GAY. I am PROUD TO BE GAY. I don't beleive in your stupid god - I don't believe in your book of fables. This is a free country – supposedly!! Take you bible and shove it somewhere else!!

    September 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • lost

      thanks for the kind words hahahahahah
      YOU HATE THEM TOO!
      Religion suck big time, but you are THE HATER!
      Relaxe, go fish 🙂

      September 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Rooster Cogburn

      I suppose you approve of Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for Gender Reassignment Surgery??? Obama is the source of the problem!

      September 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Observer

      Rooster Cogburn

      "I suppose you approve of Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for Gender Reassignment Surgery??? Obama is the source of the problem!"

      Did he ACTUALLY say that he supports that or did you just MAKE IT UP?

      September 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Redneck louie

      gay is meant to be happy an carfree not two guys a swappin spit dont rightly know whot that is but shur taint gay

      September 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      then pack your bags lisa

      and go away

      you arent welcome here

      not because of whatever you do in the sack with whatever animal it is

      but because youre more full of hate than anyone youre screaming at

      back to north korea with you

      now

      September 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Completely Uneducated

      I don't understand everything you said there Brown Note, but I think I like it.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  20. I'm The Best!

    "Instead of being married, we just say they're butbuddies. And instead of husband and wife, they'll be butbuddies..."
    -South Park

    September 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Zooky

      Is that supposed to be funny? Just curious.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      yes it is funny

      get over it

      September 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Completely Uneducated

      That's right Brown Note. That right there is funny.

      October 1, 2011 at 12:02 am |
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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.