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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. Rick

    " I chose to be a gay & I want everyone around me to bend me over "

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

      Even the women?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • DUH

      Rick, do you like corn? Also do you where safety goggles when balls are slapping in your face?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Rick

      Only if she has a piece sausage in her hand..

      September 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Craig

      "I chose to be straight & I want everyone around me to live their lives the way I do "

      September 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Observer

      Rick,

      Grow up.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    This is just great.
    Now the whole military is going to be infected with cooties and catch the gay.
    It's an airborne virus right?

    September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      No, I think it has something to do with the mind...

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

      Only religious people can catch it, as per my understanding.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  3. J R Brown

    What a bunch of clueless people. "The military" gets its policy and directives from CIVILIANS; it's not "the military" deciding anything...it's "the military" implementing policies enacted by civilian leaders. "The military" doesn't get to determine it's own social policies.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      By a desperate president who is clamoring for some kind of support from any group of people.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  4. CrazyTimes

    Instead of the Military police, will we have the fashion police now? Like, oh my gawd, those shoes just clash with that flak vest...

    September 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • DUH

      "Instead of the Military police, will we have the fashion police now? "

      No idiot or military personnel are professional people. Your lack of faith in our men and women in the military is disgusting and unAmerican.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  5. I'm The Best!

    These religious people are real nutjobs. Gay being a brain disease is like blond hair being a genetic disease. It's just part of who that person is and they can't change it. I've never understood the type of hatred that religious people (mostly christains) show toward anyone that isn't like themselves. It honestly reminds me of the holocaust a little with the general hatred towards anyone who didn't have blond hair and blue eyes.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • USMarineGuy

      Even from a non-religious point of view being gay is a mental disorder when you think about it. How is being "borned this way" any different from being born with autism, down syndrome, etc? Nature apparently mutated your genetic make up to not want to reproduce, thus not deeming your fit enough to continue your gene pool. Darwinism...not religion. You Liberals can understand that can't you.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I'm actually pretty conservative. I'm an independent but definitely lean more towards the republican side.

      But it isn't any different than being born autistic. It's just how society views these differences in brain makeup. An autistic savant can either be viewed as a genius or someone who is mentally ill. It all just depends on how society views these differences in brain chemistry. If they can find someone who likes them for who they are then what should society care?

      September 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  6. kimsland

    I am disgusted.
    This is outrageous.
    I don't want to hear this filth anymore
    You make me sick.
    You religious freaks!

    September 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  7. CrazyTimes

    I am going to enlist, so I can marry my penguin. You will all be invited. It is so nice to have equal rights as those straight soldiers...

    September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      as long as you get the penguin to consent.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      He has, we are made for each other. He completes me!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • DUH

      "I am going to enlist, so I can marry my penguin."

      Prejudice is always created by ignorance and that is a classic response of a prejudice person, since you obviously don't know the facts on this subject. What a pathetic person you are, grow up and get an education.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  8. Balls McGhee

    So interesting that Christian call atheists "sad" just because they dont believe in something. I just dont get it. Im very happy actually. i get to stay at home and watch football while you have to attend church on Sundays. that makes me happy. i get to screw in any position i want with whoever i want, while you can only do it if you intend to have children. i get to swear, drink, speak my mind, study science, see things from my own perspective, while you are force fed illogical BS jsut so you can donate all your time and money to make a pastor and make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Look at all these millionaire pastors all over this country. you are being duped and that makes you HAPPY?!?!

    September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Mark

      Your perception of Christianity and/or religion as a whole is very misguided.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • KC

      Don't worry, I am going to "burn" just like you! But...you're comment was funny! LOL

      September 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  9. Priori

    What now entereth the stage... a player yet unseen? A cause yet unborn? Or one we already know all too well, but hesitate to consider. Most of us simply wait in the audience, calling out our cheers and jeers, but affecting nothing... So let the show go on.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Jack

    I chose to be a gay & I want everyone around me to bend over

    September 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      HAHAHA!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Delta Kilo Alpha

      So it is a choice, i have heard that it wasn't a choice that people were born that way. So the truth comes out, i always thought people did it to be different or to get attention, i now know i was right.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • DUH

      "I chose to be a gay & I want everyone around me to bend over"

      Keep showing you're stupidity on this subject. Guess the quote hatred is built on the foundation of ignorance is really true. You are such a great example of it.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      get a sense of humor, will ya!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  11. Target

    Can you say friendly fire?

    September 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • kimsland

      No, you still need to wear a condom

      September 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • sybaris

      Obviously you have never served or not for any great length of time lest you would value the service and patriotic convictions of your fellow soldier/sailor, gay or straight, whose abilities your life may one day depend on.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  12. justsayin

    its funny that people can have such blind faith in anything when both our theories in religion and science are consistantly proven wrong. science told us the earth was flat and that anything lighter than air couldnt fly. Science is important but just because we think we understand the universe doesnt mean we do.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • dan

      Actually that wasnt scirnce. It was a misconception.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      science did not say the earth was flat. science wasnt invented at the time. wow, is this the kind of logic that you people use?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • justsayin

      every theory that is proven wrong is a misconception

      September 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • smlynch

      hmmm. Science is self-correcting, while religion isn't. That makes science much more prone to be correct.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • justsayin

      when was science invented?

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

      You don't really know what 'science' is, do ya?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • justsayin

      my point is if u blindly believe whats infront of your eyes then you'll never learn anything. if u beleive u cant be wrong you wont learn anything. So how can you blindy believe theres no god.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • justsayin

      yeah science goes as far as are limited brain copacity can comprehend

      September 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  13. jimbo

    Ok, if they are going to allow this that is fine with me but they better go start having these marriages in the middle east on our bases. That would make the muslims' heads explode over there, it would be hilarious!

    September 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Damn skippy!
      I want blackhawk helicopters projecting home movies of gay amrriages onto the walls of the local mosques.
      When the spouses kiss, they can launch a salvo of side-winder missiles.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  14. CrazyTimes

    I choose to be gay, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • kimsland

      Seems reasonable.
      At least you're not being silly religious.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Observer

      So why is it better to choose to be ignorant?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • JOSUS

      Its every humans right.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • DUH

      "I choose to be gay, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal."

      I choose to be a woman, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal.

      I choose to be African American, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal.

      I choose to be disabled, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal.

      I choose to be religious, so I want everyone else around me to bend to my wishes so I can be accepted and feel normal.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      So if I want to marry my penguin, that would be cool too?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Mak

      So what you're saying is that you chose to be straight. So, in theory (assuming you're a male), you said, hey both that woman and that man are really hot, and I'm attracted to them both, but I'm going to choose to be straight and just be with the woman – correct?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CrazyTimes
      I don't know – is your penguin partner capable of communicating it's informed consent?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Delta Kilo Alpha

      So it is a choice, i have heard that it wasn't a choice that people were born that way. So the truth comes out, i always thought people did it to be different or to get attention, i now know i was right.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      Since your intelligence level is clearly on par with that of a penguin, go for it...

      September 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Rick

      ___++ I thought it was how you were born not choice?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • John

      People DO NOT chose to be gay.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  15. CarrotCakeMan

    It's sad anti-gays are so desperate to try to spread their hatred and fear of LGBT Americans that they'd dump hate speech here. A clear majority of Americans support marriage equality for LGBT Americans, and fully 80% of Americans wanted and GOT DADT revoked. Support for LGBT Americans is rising rapidly, and anti-gay hate speech won't change that.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • CrazyTimes

      Lol, not true at all. Most Americans see it as a dev1ant lifestyle. Many military commanders fought it as well.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CrazyTimes
      If by "most americans" you mean "me and the other people in my congregation", then you're probably right.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Delta Kilo Alpha

      Anti-gay, whats wrong with being anti? Its just a fad! Some people don't like people because of the clothes they wear, piercings, tattoos and so on, its the same thing.

      You can read above and below, gays are saying they "Chose" to be gay.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Chris Hogan

    "Our Military will be a beacon of hope for all who choose dev1ant life styles. Like children and Sheep? Enlist, soon you will be able to get married in the military too!"

    And I suppose, CrazyTimes, that you have some evidence that being gay is a lifestyle, or choice? Go away, TROLL, go away!!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Tom Nunnery

      So typical a reaction to change and so republican. Get over it. The military has done the right thing in allowing soldiers to serve openly and to get married.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  17. Bob

    Hold on... how do you go from two weeks ago kicking out soldiers who admitted they were gay, to now marrying together two male soldiers? The military must be really desperate.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Delta Kilo Alpha

      Must be a virus that can't be stopped. Looks like the world is coming to an end soon.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • tom

      ... the article is saying military chaplains can perform marriages. it doesn't specify the marriages are between soldiers, just that the can perform the function, ie a justice of the peace does. also, you do realize there are gay women soldiers so it isn't about marrying gay males soldiers. the lack of reading comprehension is astounding.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  18. kimsland

    What would Allah do?
    Oh right, kill them.

    Religious beliefs are very wrong wherever you are.
    And again, gay DON'T got to religious chaplains to get married, to be gay and religious is a contradiction.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Robert

      Why do you consistently call people here who have faith in something 'wrong'? Noone is saying you are 'wrong' because you don't believe. Why don't you follow your own advice and let those who believe one thing enjoy their right to do so, just as they allow you your right to do so?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  19. Ray

    I wonder how many people commenting here against gays in the military as some syndrome of liberalness are the same ones who stand in 100% solidarity with Israel and support it's right to defend itself. I only ask because Israel also allows gays in the military and has for a little bit now and it would seem very anti-American to support Israel's right to defend itself with its gay inclusive military but not support one's own country's right to defend itself with it's gay inclusive military.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • US Citizen

      I guess mental illness is not a reason to keep you out of the military. Boy the bar sure is low.

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

      "I guess mental illness is not a reason to keep you out of the military"

      Hey idiot they took it off the mental illness list back in 1973 because the proved that all the reports in the past were done by bias and prejudice people. Keep showing your a moron on this subject.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  20. cmxsmitty

    Great news and progress. Its time to give all citizens equal rights especially those who are putting their lives on the line to defend our country.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:14 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.