US Navy backtracks over gay weddings on bases

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The US Navy has reversed its plans to conduct gay weddings on bases, saying that officers need more time to look at the legal issues.

This week, an April 13th memo from Navy head chaplain Rear Adm Mark Tidd was reported as saying that Navy chaplains would be able to perform the ceremonies on bases in states where gay marriage was legal.

The memo said: “Regarding the use of base facilities for same-sex marriages, legal counsel has concluded that, generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation-neutral. This is a change to previous training that stated same-sex marriages are not authorised on federal property.”

Despite this, another memo released yesterday said that the plans were “suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination”.

Some politicians had complained that the change would violate the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts federal recognition of marriage to that of a man and a woman.

Missouri Republican representative Todd Akin collected 62 signatures from other Congressmen to protest against the move.

He wrote: “The law of the land is that the federal government defines marriage as between one man and one woman. This new guidance from the Navy clearly violates the law. While our President may not like this law, it is unbelievable that our Navy would issue guidance that clearly violates this law.”

The move was due to happen after the military lifts the ban on out gay troops later this summer.

The ban will not be lifted until military chiefs have certified that repealing the law will not harm military readiness. Following this, 60 days must pass.