Once the military’s ban on gays serving openly is lifted, Navy chaplains will be permitted to officiate at same-sex marriage and civil union ceremonies on base, according to an April 13 memorandum from the Navy’s head chaplain.
“Consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization, a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with a state that permits same-sex marriage or union; and if that chaplain is, according to the applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages,” the memo signed by Chief of Chaplains Rear Adm. Mark Tidd states. The memorandum, designed to update chaplains’ training guidance for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay members from serving, was posted by the conservative website Media Research Center.
In addition, the memo states that “if the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage. This is true for purely religious services (e.g., a chaplain blessing a union) or a traditional wedding (e.g., a chaplain both blessing and conducting the ceremony).”
It should be noted that no chaplain would be required to administer marriage vows.