Pentagon says military chaplains can hold gay weddings

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Pentagon has ruled that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriage ceremonies on or off military bases.

A memo released today says: “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.

“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 change comes ten days after the formal repeal of the ban on openly gay troops.

In May, the Navy initially backed gay weddings on bases but quickly backtracked, saying that officers needed more time to consider legal issues.

The 18-year-old law was repealed on September 20th and means gay and lesbian soldiers can be open about themselves without facing dismissal.

Congress voted last year to repeal the law and a repeal process has slowly progressed.