Navy Could Allow Same-Sex Marriages On Navy Bases

Lez Get Real’s Paul Brooks reports that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is leading the Navy to allow gay couples to marry on Navy bases in the five states that allow same-sex marriage. “The changes came in the form of an April 13 advisory memo issued to all chaplains which said the Chaplain Corps was revising its Tier I DADT Repeal training manuals, which had previously indicated that same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property”:

Regarding the use of base facilities for same-sex marriages, legal counsel has concluded that generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation neutral. 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….Facility usage is determined by local policies…This is a change to previous training that stated same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property. […]

[A] chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with the laws of a state which permits same-sex marriages or union; and if the chaplain is, according to applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages.

It’s unclear if the other branches of the Armed Forces will issue similar rulings, but the sticking point here seems to be that the use of a chapel is determined by the federal government and that it doesn’t extend a benefit to a gay couple and is thus not in violation of the Defense of Marriage Act.