Not So Fast: Navy Reverses Course on Allowing Gay Marriages
Under pressure from dozens of House lawmakers, the Navy has reversed its decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same-sex unions if the Pentagon decides to recognize openly gay military service later this year.
Rear Admiral Mark Tidd, Chief of Navy chaplains, says his earlier decision has been "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."
The Navy says it needs a more thorough review of the decision that allowed Navy chaplains to receive training to perform civil unions on military bases, but only in states where same-sex unions are legal.
More than 60 House members wrote Navy Secretary Ray Mabus objecting to the Navy's initial ruling. The group says the Navy was violating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
A letter from the Congressmen says it's unconscionable that the Navy, which is sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, would even consider training and directing service members to violate federal law.
The lawmakers asked Mabus to order the Navy to defend the Constitution, adding that no one has the right to pick and choose the laws they will follow.
Under the Navy's initial ruling, civil union ceremonies would be allowed at Navy chapels and catering centers, but only in states where same-sex unions are legal and recognized.
Even if a same-sex union ceremony is performed, same-sex partners would not get health, housing or other benefits that are provided to married couples involving a man and woman.