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Military chaplains tell Pentagon they refuse to officiate same-sex weddings

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nearly 2,000 members of the military-affiliated Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL) have pledged not to perform same-sex “wedding” ceremonies under any circumstances, despite a recent Pentagon directive that authorizes chaplains to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, and military chapels to be used for “any private ceremony.”

Retired U. S. Army chaplain, Colonel Ron Crews, executive director of the CARL, said his coalition is joining the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services to say “no” to the directive.

In an interview with the American Family Association’s propaganda organ, OneNewsNow, Crews said:

“They made a very strong statement saying that no Catholic chaplains serving in the military will participate in any same-sex ceremonies at any chapels. We appreciate that strong stand,” he shares.

“So we just wanted to let the Department of Defense know that it’s not only the Catholic chaplains, but that some 2,000 chaplains who come from evangelical backgrounds are saying our chaplains will not participate in same-sex ceremonies in the military.”

Crews told the AFA tabloid that CARL is asking Congress to enact a right of conscience clause in the revised DOD code “to ensure that no American service members are forced to deny what the Bible says about homosexuality.”

In a statement, the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services said:

“No Catholic chaplain is authorized to perform a same-sex wedding under any circumstances,” and pointed out that the Pentagon’s new policy “appears to ignore the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law 15 years ago and remains in effect.”

According to the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services, there are approximately 300 Roman Catholic priests certified for active-duty military service.

Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA in federal court after a federal judge ruled in 2010 that the law was unconstitutional. The Pentagon had announced Sept. 30, that the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces are authorized to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies after the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, but were not required to.

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70 more reader comments:

  1. bull fucking shit! Canadian chaplains do it in the military and it is no longer a big deal

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:07pm
  2. Oh, bigots again and again and again,,,,

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:07pm
  3. wonder how long it is till a chaplin performs a same sex marriage…. maybe Lt. Choi can get married to his partner :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:08pm
  4. You know what, it’s their right to make the choice to not do them. Notice the directive said “authorized”, not “directed”. Do I agree with it? No. But I don’t think it’s right to force them.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:09pm
  5. I will perform the ceremonies.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:09pm
  6. Fire the homophobic subhuman scum forthwith!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:09pm
  7. They shouldn’t be forced to marry someone they don’t want to, and if it is because of religious beliefs then they should be able to uphold them in a respectful manner, I may not agree with their beliefs but they do have a right to have them and stick to them.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:10pm
  8. They have a right to their personal opinion – but, as members of the military, they should be discharged for going against policy.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:10pm
  9. Fuck them. :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:11pm
  10. Unless if the Military Chaplain is gay then there’s no worries….=)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:11pm
  11. Bullshit!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:12pm
  12. This just proves my point; people of different religions can disagree and dislike each other, but they will come together to stop on gay people and our rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:12pm
  13. If it is their religion ok. But chapels on base are federal government and not owned by a religious affiliate, is this right? Hopefully they will get Chaplains in there who will perform the ceremonies. These outdated archaic ideas on equality by the chaplains needs to be tossed out like sacrifices, stonings, and marry your dead brothers wife were.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:13pm
  14. If the military chaplains do not want to follow orders, then they can be discharged from the service – simple.

    What would happen to a soldier who failed to follow orders?

    Chaplains are no different than soldiers.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:14pm
  15. VIOLATING THE PEOPLE RIGHTS, THEY BETTER FOLLOW DIRECTIONS…

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:15pm
  16. They should be court marshalled for not following orders..

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:16pm
  17. Clearly, people aren’t reading the language of the directive.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:17pm
  18. But, not too long ago if you were openly gay you were discharged yet you can deny doing a gay marriage and still remain in the military? Anyone else think it’s a double standard?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:17pm
  19. don’t LIKE!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:18pm
  20. Here lies the issue of not only personal but religious beliefs and doctrine – But u choose to be in the military so follow the rules – like it, agree with it or not! We’ve all had to follow some rule/policy we didn’t agree with – or get out!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:18pm
  21. if u read carefully, it says they are permitted to perform the ceremonies but they dont have too…on another note, i would like to see more articles from military members after the dont ask, dont tell was taken away…i wanna know if the gay military members have been having problems since they are able to come out…and what we can do to support them?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:19pm
  22. it’s their prerogative, but history will not look kindly on haters and oppressors.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:20pm
  23. the chaplains are well within their right to deny the marriage if they feel it breeches their religious views… BUT, only 2000 said they would not do it? that is not all of the chaplains…. would be interesting to see how many would perform the ceremony…. I think that would be a better marker for LGBTQ cause….

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:20pm
  24. I wouldn’t want to be married by someone who was forced to marry me, they have and should have the right to not marry someone, I’m all for LGBTQ rights but other people have rights too.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:20pm
  25. These chaplains should be dishonorably discharged for refusal to do their duty.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:22pm
  26. but, I do have a question… if two gay military persons or one military one civilian got married in a Military Chaple by a US Chaplin… would that then default to a federally recognized marriage? And override any state bigotry?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:22pm
  27. gary gletty. they are not breaching a order. and cannot be discharged for it…they have been given the green light to perform a ceremony if they want… the pentagon has not ordered them to perform a ceremony… that is the difference

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:26pm
  28. then why don’t they resign?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:27pm
  29. The solution is simple – fire them.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:28pm
  30. Not everyone agrees with gay marriage and they don’t have too, gays are not the only ones with rights. Why would anyone want to be married by someone who didn’t want to marry them anyway.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:28pm
  31. I’m all for gay rights, I’m pan myself, but seriously, not everyone has to agree with gay marriage they have the right not to like it, the lgbtq crowd does need to realize others have rights too, you may not like that but it’s true.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:30pm
  32. I agree with Courtney, they shouldnt be forced to nor should any clergy in the states but gays should have the right to marry and im sure they will find someone willing to perform the ceremony, i’ll get ordained and be the official military gay wedding guy, fly me all over the world

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:31pm
  33. Do it up Roger :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:33pm
  34. Court Martial seems appropriate for insubordination!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:34pm
  35. They have the right to not like it, but if they refuse to perform their job duties this is a breach of employment. If they do not feel comfortable performing their job duties, then it’s best that they hit the unemployment line.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:37pm
  36. tyler i think you missed the point… they have been authorized to perform saem sex marriages.. not ordered to perform them. in other words. if they want to perform a ceremony, the pentagon has given permission to allow it.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:41pm
  37. Not surprising. Most Chaplains are evangelicals. The military has a hard time getting Mainline denomination Chaplains. But at least the military is moving forward. Maybe more ecumenical denomination ministers will consider military chaplaincy now.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:42pm
  38. I think we are missing the bigger picture.. Does this mean that the Pentagon is recognising same sex marriages? Part of the US Federal Government has taken a stance….. This could be the opening needed to force equality in the US….

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:44pm
  39. I agree with Courtney. Mike, I understand your point, but this is not about a war and lives on the line.. It is about Marriage and one’s own beliefs. We balk and scream when someone else s views are attempted to be forced on us right?

    This simply leaves openings in the Military for GLBT clergy to openly serve. Looks like progress to me.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:45pm
  40. but that is the point. they have the choice to refuse…

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:48pm
  41. No I didn’t. I said key words: “if they refuse”. I’m sure there are going to be marriages, if they don’t find someone to do it. Someones gonna get the boot.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:49pm
  42. While it does come across as a double standard, and they may cite their particular religious denomination’s doctrine, military chaplains are members of the military and subject to the orders of their superiors. I feel confident that we’re witnessing the last vestiges DADT being shed. Give them time and the tide will turn there as well, if not their superiors will be placed in a position of ordering them. Their denomination doesn’t stop them from providing cross-denomination or interfaith services (like Kaddish, or last rites, etc.). It should not stop them from following a military chain of command.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 6:58pm
  43. I bet those military Chaplains r pedophiles.who r they to say what people can do & can’t do.Last time i checked your is yours to live it.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:23pm
  44. Im for most gay rights and support gay marriage but will always fight
    against forcing a chaplain to do anything against his beliefs. have yall lived under oppression so long youd rather be oppressors? those of you that choose to be oppressors i stand vehemently against you to those that want to join me in unity struggling in love and humility to get the chaplains to see gays as those included in who christ died for i welcome you

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:25pm
  45. Than fire them and hire new ones, fuck!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:31pm
  46. They should be relieved of duty

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:34pm
  47. Religion in the army is just as vicious as religion in our politics. Hire competent people (social workers, psychologists, counsellors, lawyers) and throw the chaplains out! Scram!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:38pm
  48. Francisco Olivas; who are you to say what THEY can and can’t do? You can’t have it both ways.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:53pm
  49. Those of you calling for bigotry against the chaplains are no better than the homobigots who beat ya down i thought this was a tolerance rights sight yall who are calling to fire the chaplains are mini hitlers your hatred makes me sick as much as the gay bashers hatred does

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:56pm
  50. fuck you very much!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:06pm
  51. I just wonder what the Pentagon would respond to a chaplain who refused to perform interracial heterosexual weddings. Do they have the “right” to refuse to do those? There should be the same standards for racism as for homophobia.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:19pm
  52. I thought chaplains were supposed to be open to all people and nondenomenational/ecumenical…

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:25pm
  53. No jimmy if you want to say fuck you to me you are welcome to say it to my face ya hater. contact me if youre not a sniveling little coward. i will fight for your right to get married and i will fight for the religious rights of those we disagree with and if that means i have to kick your ass i hope i dont ever have to but if i do i will

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:35pm
  54. Boo!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:38pm
  55. Implement true separation of Church and State… Eliminate active duty enlisted military chaplains at taxpayer expense! Ban members of the clergy from performing weddings as agents of the state!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:38pm
  56. Anyways gotta finish ma art homework! :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 8:44pm
  57. more people than just gay and gay friendly watch this site there are trolls who still live in mommies basement surfing these sites for anything that they can sell or give the true homobigots as proof that gays are imoral or evil i dont agree with any hatred im just as ready to fight the intolerant oppressor haters among you as i was to fight the evil son of a bitch who said all military gays should be put on the front lines so they could be exterminated. so please for the sake of the gay rights movement quit being douchebag haters!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:08pm
  58. and now what? CARL being dismissed from army services? hope so…

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:19pm
  59. conflict provides opportunities for growth…let them all be fired!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:19pm
  60. Perhaps youd like to go back to the days of getting fired for being gay gabriel. hate begets hate quit being an intolerant douche hater. there are millions of str8s who if they see the anti religious rights hatred youre spewing will vote overwhelmingly homophobic. im saying they can be taught tolerance but it wont happen if you remain a fucking hypocrite!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:41pm
  61. well i see a solution…. discharge them from the military!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:48pm
  62. Time and again in the comments above, the point has been made that military chaplains were given authorization – NOT orders – to perform same-sex marriages in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are permitted. If they refuse to perform same-sex marriages, they are NOT going against orders, so there is no reason for a court martial or for terminating their employment.

    Are they homophobic? Maybe so, but maybe not. They may not personally care… but they will follow the rules of their religion as it means they get to keep their job. (Lots of people enforce rules they do not personally agree with in order to retain employment.) Ultimately, religious clergy (and organizations) are permitted to follow the creed of their religion even if it runs counter to anti-discrimination laws.

    And someone above asked if a military chaplain can refuse to perform a marriage ceremony for an inter-racial couple. The answer is YES, though most have common sense not to because every state in the US permits inter-racial marriage and a vast majority of the nation is not opposed to inter-racial marriage. The same is not true with same-sex marriage, for which few states permit same-sex marriage and a slim majority is in favor of same-sex marriage.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:36pm
  63. I dont agree that they said no cuz there is nothing wrong with it…. I think people tend to rely on religion way to much and need to start relying on themselves….. cuz i see it as them still saying being gay is wrong when it isnt and alot of people have told me that i am going to hell for it, and like i said i have my own views on that also… I live my life by my own reasons not by religion…. Cuz if you think about it, religion causes alot of hurt to others and i dont believe in that i believe everyone should be treated as an equal, love one another…. I know saying it doesnt change anything, but i can still hope that someday people put there own issues aside and start thinking of how others would feel if the situation was reversed…. Lota love to everyone :)

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 1:04am
  64. I agree with Mitchell. We respect diversity in ALL forms, no matter what

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 3:09am
  65. We need to get DOMA off the books then go from there. The could have just kept their mouths shut. The directive states. as I understand it. they don’t have to preside if it is against their beliefs.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 6:01am
  66. Come on now!! The same people you bless to fight our battles you won’t bless them in their love and happiness……what the heck, sounds like a man law not a God law to me, but what do I know. I am only human not a God translater, some rules for some, some rules for others, God says…….I heard God says love one another.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 6:23am
  67. Hey, they want to NOT perform same-sex ceremonies, that’s okay by me. Have the Pentagon publish a list with pictures of ALL the chaplains that have elected not to perform these ceremonies so that we all know who the bigots are. I’d rather have the ability to know which chaplains are going against their faith and beliefs by hiding their hatred behind their faith, in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 7:07am
  68. wow, really? its just for taxes and a piece of paper…. no one can kill true love.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 8:43am
  69. So, basically what they’re saying is that they won’t perform ceremonies that they didn’t have to perform in the first place? Crap, they might as well say they won’t sprinkle holy water on the space shuttle. It wasn’t going to happen in the first place. Idiots.

    Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 11:06pm
  70. This is such a non-issue! There are plenty of progressive chaplins who will be glad to do a same-gender wedding. After all, how many young people in the military are ready to make a life-time committment to another person? Not many, I’m sure, so this is not going to be a problem for either side.

    Posted on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 11:47am