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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. jmr

    a gay is like a child that hasnt learned the diff between right or wrong yet, or was told its ok and coddled about it

    September 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      It seems like your manhood is threatened. What are you so afraid of?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Joe

      Wow, that's ignorant.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ya No

      Probably haven't noticed, but you're about O for thirty today. Your perspective on gender relations – based on the considerable feedback you've received – might accurately be considered 'perverse', at the very minimum.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ray

      A "gay?" It's 2011, pal, not 1950.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • EQUALITYNOW

      that would be your opinion I guess....and God knows your sole opinion should dictate the behavior of all 6.5 billion people on the planet.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Rick

      Why do you feel that being gay is wrong?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • tommy

      jmr i hope you find peace in your heart someday!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Observer

      A bigot is a child who was told what was wrong and never got educated enough to realize it.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, simultaneously spies on all 6 billion human beings 24 hours a day, using his magic telepathic powers, so he can burn them for all eternity if he doesn’t like how they “do it”.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is ludicrous.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • jmr

      true, still no excuse for being gros...er gay

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      jmr: proving again that ignorance is not bliss. It's impossible to be blissful when you have that much irrational hatred.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Colin

      jmr- hell man, make up your mind. I've seen abour three posts from you suggesting you are gay and about 10 bashing gays. Which is it?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • jmr

      it's not obvious. I'm gay, but I post stupid things pretending not to be, to point out how stupid ho.mophobes are.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • BRC

      @Colin,
      Those are actually frequently the same thing actually. That whole self attacking hmophobia issue. "Me thinks he doth protest too much"

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Joe

      jmr, trolling is in bad form.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Nils

      Hell, I believe in God and I think the above belief is ridiculous.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Ceri

      No, Colin, if you are an example of atheism, then atheism is an inability to realise that not everything can be explained in human terms. You have a problem since the very concept of a god is one who is beyond human limits and understanding. What we can say about atheism is that followers have a need to categorize all people of faith as somehow being intellectually inferior, which of course is absurd.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Melissa

      No, Christianity is fear mongering hate, and promotion of bad education. Religion is imaginary. They have tiny bits of truth, but none of them even remotely touches all of it. And the shear arrogance of thinking that you'd know any gods mind, even if you believe in that stuff, is just mind boggling. If you are that arrogant to think that, any god would be livid and punish you for it.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jackzinta

      We all know that gays are godless atheists: they all show their true colors whenever this discussion comes up.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. SCAtheist

    Only common sense.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Rick

      Invictus: would it be better if they were on legal drugs?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  4. sgtshady

    Great job DOD, you make it okay to do something like marry another man, but stand fast on your archaic stances about marijuana and synthetic marijuana. I love how the DOD acts like a facist government doing what it wants when it wants.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • jmr

      exactly!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • invictus

      Considering the highly technical skills involved in conducting military operations, having soldiers either dependent upon or under the influence of illegal drugs is....you know what....you're just an idiot. Get out of the gene pool. It's tragic that good men have died for your right to be an ignorant @ss.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • DemFL- GAY VET long b4 dadt was around

      I just love you people (invictus) that THINK you know all about Marijuana and it's effects on the body. (invictus) have you even been stoned?? I'll say now if you say yes, you're lying! I have to totally agree with (sgtshady).

      September 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Ya No

      Invictus: After reading reams written by "The Stupid and The Proud", I reach the same point. Ignorance is curable, stupid is forever. Where is Darwin when we need him the most?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  5. kimsland

    We're here, we're gay get use to it.
    Oh right that was 50 years ago now.
    Time to catch up churchies (as per usual with your backward thoughts)

    September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • jmr

      yeah and you want everyone to know it, look at me Im gay, I talk it, I walk it, see see look look Im gay everyone

      September 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • kimsland

      Oh you boys.
      Now where's jesus I want to fck him up (again)

      September 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • John

      This makes me sick. The military was never meant to be politically and socially correct......nor even to be a democracy. it was meant to protect us and kill our enemies. Period. And the liberals have turned it into a perverted joke. More than 80% of combat troops were against this......there is a reason why.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Observer

      John,

      It's really pathetic to see unpatriotic INGRATES not appreciate all the gays who have died for our nation in the military.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Sean

      @john

      At the time the military was also opposed to racial integration. That doesn’t make them right. Or are you a racist as well as a bigot?

      September 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  6. Religizz

    Just like the right wing was furious when the military was racially integrated, they can't stand the thought of someone covering their butt that thinks their butt is cute.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chass

      Actually when in the military most could care less. We all bleed green was the motto. Besides if someone thinks my butt is cute he might fight harder to protect it no?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Matt - Bethlehem, PA

      @ Chass

      i know you were partially kidding, but as a gay man..if we have a platonic friendship with a male friend, a stronger bond is formed (more than some str8 friends I know) and most gay men I know would fight like hell to protect any of our friends, str8 and gay alike...so you are partially correct.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  7. jmr

    next South Park – Mr. Garrison joins the military and becomes a chaplain

    September 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Your god is a fossil

      That won't happen, Mr. Hat is an athiest

      September 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  8. jmr

    yay Mr. Garrison joins the military and becomes a chaplain – next South Park episode

    September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  9. Jake

    Here is a question for all the idiots: Would you rather have a gay soldier protecting you, or nobody protecting you?

    September 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Joe B

      Nobody, what they would be protecting is their beliefs and I would rather and capable of protecting myself.

      Thank You !

      September 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • kimsland

      You forgot to say, or religious people praying for you. Ha Ha Ha

      September 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • MASTRODAMUS

      You can have all the gay soldiers you want, but it's the straight Marines that protect you.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Roger Noe

      Nobody.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Observer

      MASTRODAMUS,

      Can't get much more FACTLESS than that statement. Well done.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Matt - Bethlehem, PA

      @ MASTRODAMUS

      Such a foolish comment...There are more than a fair share of gay Marines. your are just plain ignorant.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Erik

    Good. No chaplain is forced to marry someone against their beliefs. In fact, the government should only have "civil unions" for straight and gay people. If you want the additional sacrament of "marriage" in your church, then go ahead. However, the government should not have anything to do with "marriage" since its a religious sacrament.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      (my replies keep not showing up – why do I suspect that in an hour, they'll all appear)

      I have no problem with what you suggested, however, you need to understand two things:

      1) Couples who have a civil union will still refer to themselves as married
      2) There are churches that will perform the sacrament of marriage for same gender couples.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • BRC

      @Erik,
      That outlook would certainly help clear things up, but it isn't true. Marriage has been around every bit as long and even outside of religion, the concept and terminology didn't just pop into existance 2000 years ago. So, while I would be practically fine with doing away with secular recognition of the term marriage, having everything referred to as a union, and letting marriage be a word only really spoken in churches and religious communities; I cannot allow a group of people to claim something that isn't theirs, just because they disagree with other people's life styles.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ryan

      Are you seriously trying to imply that religion invented marriage?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • rene

      Agreed, Erik, I have been saying this for years. We should not have tax brackets for married or unmarried, but for those with civil unions vs. non. Marriage belongs to the state as long as it affects our legal rights and no amount of church's anti-gay-marriage stand will ever change that.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • jmr

      bingo!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Hmmm

      so if the Government should have nothing to do with "marriage" because its a religious ceremony then shouldn't that apply to 'straight' marriage as well? So you are advocating doing away with the term marriage altogether when it comes to all government functions...done.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • John

      A good idea, and should be carried just a bit more, a religious marriage should have no legal standing only the civil union should, since religion should not be part of government.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Sean

      Your church has no claim on marriage. Marriage predates your religion and is common in all societies regardless of which sky father the follow. Marriage actually started as a contract between two men. It has NOTHING to do with religion. Education will not hurt your ‘soul’ I promise.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      rene: that's what chunks of Europe does. If you want the legal benefits you HAVE to go to the judge. You can then choose to (or not to) go to the church and have them do the religious aspects.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • J.W

      Sean can you give more information on marriage originating as a contract between two men? I am not saying you are wrong I had just never heard that before.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      JW: Marriage was probably originally a contract between the groom and the father of the bride.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • J.W

      Ooohhhh that makes sense.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sean

      Correct LivinginVA.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  11. jmr

    we should all be gay, then not have kids, no making money selling bras, and eventually the middle easy will rule the world, basically thats what it is to be gay

    September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Simon

      So when does study hall end and you have to get off the computer to go to gym class?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby

      ***poot***

      September 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Ya No

      "The middle easy"? Lost me on that one. But then, the remainder of your post made no sense either. How do you type with both hands in your pants?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  12. grospiton

    whats wrong with a chic?its a baby chicken are we now doing chickens

    September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  13. jmr

    ooooo a girl GROSS

    September 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • BRC

      You been posting adamantly and prodigiously on this topic, and I've noticed you have pretty much never addressed the concept of lesbians, only gay men. So, I am forced to ask, how much time have you spent thinking about gay men having s3x; it has to be quite a lot.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • jmr

      lezbos are pretty much dudes, and they are mentally and morally corput, see Mr. Garrison

      September 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Observer

      BRC,

      You can bet that he knows hetero guys who fantasize about attractive lesbians.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  14. jmr

    just expalin what is wrong with a chic? dont get it

    September 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • kimsland

      Actually me either.
      But so be it.
      Its certainly nothing to do with religion at least.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Observer

      Just like EVERY person, you have your preferences. Wake up.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Ya No

      You tell me.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  15. jmr

    liberals – lets except everyone and let them do anything they want

    September 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Henry

      You misspelled 'libertarian'

      September 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Observer

      However, liberals do know how to write sentences.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow

      You need to make friends with Mr. Spellcheck. "Except" should be "accept".

      September 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • BRC

      As long as it doesn't violate the democratically agreed upon laws or harm anyone else that doesn' t sound like a bad thing.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Sheesh

      bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow,

      Spell Check (unless Grammar Check is included) won't catch that one (except/accept) - an actual working brain is needed.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Ya No

      With any luck at all, we could get an organization together that would 'except' you. The miserable, irrational hate quotient on the planet would be reduced considerably.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  16. grospiton

    i often wondered if jesus was gay after all he had his last supper with 12 men(disciples)

    September 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • kimsland

      I say YES
      Who's with me on this?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Fred Garvin

      I say you are a closet ho mo, that likes bukkake performed on you.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • kimsland

      Fred, I'm not religious

      September 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Observer

      Do you mean the Jesus who hung around with 12 men (almost all unmarried), who never married, never dated a woman, and never said anything bad about gays?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Married to Mary Magdelene, I doubt he was gay.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Gabacho

      Silly comment!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Observer

      AGuest9,

      "Married to Mary Magdelene,". That's not in the Bible which told his life story. Just made it up?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The only woman besides Mary to be mentioned in the gospels several times, and was present at the tomb, as well as had her own gospel (however not canon). You mean to tell me that she was "just some harlot who hung around with Jesus"?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Observer, Mother Mary had three other sons and at least one unnamed daughter (that IS in the bible). She is also claimed to be "ever-virgin". The other children were "immaculately conceived", as well???

      There was a bit of editing done in the bible to make convenient policy decisions by the church. Editing out a wedding of Jesus to someone (especially a woman of ill repute) because the church wanted to push celibacy wouldn't be all that difficult. The Dead Sea Scrolls (and even the gospel of "Mark") are incomplete for a reason.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Observer

      AGuest9,

      So the Bible FORGOT to mention that Jesus entered got married? LOL.

      GUESS again.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Observer

      AGuest9,

      Since the Bible was edited to make it politically correct, let's edit it again so that the GOLDEN RULE actually applies to everyone.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The bible DID mention that Mother Mary had at least four other children, but this nonsense of her still being a virgin continues. The church lied there. How many OTHER lies has it told, just to suit its current teachings? How far back to the lies go? All the way to James? It is his church, after all.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  17. kimsland

    Was jesus gay?

    I'm thinking yes.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Your god is a fossil

      Well he DID supposedly spend long periods of time on a boat with only men

      September 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • BRC

      "You know what I think Smithers, women and seamen don't mix" M. Burns

      September 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  18. maybeajoke

    This military chaplain is good.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  19. LA310

    this nation is moving to the left on social policies. Americans are starting to see that the fringe right is frankly worthless. This nation is NOT a theocracy, and it's not one on purpose. God bless the military and ALL those who sacrifice and their families.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Peter

      It's actually moving in both directions at the same time, which can be dangerous if there is no agreement that interactions should be civil.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  20. Clay

    @Larry69
    "Clay, if you religious nuts would leave us alone we wouldn't bother you. At least Atheists haven't gone around slaughtering people because they did believe in god."
    You have to remember, Christianity is broken into many denominations. The 'Holy Slaughter' was an action of the Catholics and protestants. You can't blame all of Christianity for a few extremists.

    @Melissa
    "Yeah well, you promote hatred. You won't get love back. When you stop being closed minded childish uneducated fools, then we can talk and you will get treated better."

    Can you please be more specific? A mere accusation of hatred without example means nothing. As for uneducated, I tried and gave up on Atheism. My faith is educated.

    @Melissa
    No, it's not. I'm saying come in here and be reasonable, not just throwing insults. I've written whole posts against peoples beliefs without actually insulting them, and you act like I ask you to do something unreasonable.

    @Non Belieber
    I thank you for posting a lengthy response. It's not about everyone that's against Christianity, it's about Atheists who come in and try to combat it with hatred. Then they tell us off for being hateful. I'm not saying all are, but I want to help the ones who are.
    I'd like to thank Dan & Non Belieber for actually reading my post and giving an adequate response.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • kimsland

      Clay, atheists don't hate any religious person.
      They merely find that religion is ludicrous. I really think religious people should try to learn more.
      Try to ask why more often. Maybe just ask more questions and open up your mind more.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Melissa

      You don't want gay people to get married because you say its against god because they can't have children. Except that you only want that rule to apply to gay people.

      Here's a shocker for you... marriage has existed since LONG before Christianity. It is NOT a solely Christian idea. And straight couples are allowed to marry through a Justice of the Peace.

      There is NO reason that gay people should not be allowed to marry through a Justice of the Peace as well other than that you want to hate on others and make their lives miserable because you don't agree with the way they are.

      Its time to grow up. Whether you like it or not. You don't want your religion to live up to what it preaches about love? Then go right ahead. But you do NOT have the right to tell people who they may and may not marry so long as they are consenting adults. Its none of your business. Period.

      And before you say anything dumb, I'm a happily married straight woman. I'm just sick to death of the promotion of hatred that I see in this world.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Ummm... Once you do away with catholics and protestants, there are only a few fringe groups left that aren't really considered "christian".

      September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Unbeliever

      I agree. Marriage is a contract between two people. A legal contract that's concept has been around for a long time. Also, so what if it goes against your god? In your belief system are you supposed to be the one passing judgement? Wouldn't this judgement have to be passed down by someone a little higher in the food chain than yourself? A book of assorted fairy tales should not have this much influence on our lives. If you could truly prove that YOUR god is not only real, but the correct one to chose, I would accept that. You can't though because he isn't real.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:49 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.