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Pentagon says chaplains may perform gay weddings
October 2, 2011
1:52 pm
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zoltan2
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Pentagon says chaplains may perform gay weddings

By Curtis Tate | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department issued new guidelines Friday that allow military chaplains to officiate at same-sex weddings, on or off military installations, in states where such weddings are allowed.

No chaplain is required to participate in a same-sex wedding, if it violates personal or religious beliefs, the Pentagon said. Since the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal recognition of same-sex marriages, the department wouldn't endorse them, it added.

"The guidance issued today strikes the right balance between respecting the faith traditions of chaplains and affording all service members the same rights under current law," said Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay rights organization.

The Pentagon is treading carefully around the unsettled issue as it transitions away from the longstanding prohibition against gay service members declaring their sexuality.

Though "don't ask, don't tell" is now history, some Republican members of Congress want the Pentagon to prohibit same-sex weddings, and the House Armed Services Committee passed amendments to the 2012 defense appropriations bill last year that are intended to require that.

One by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., would ban military chaplains and Pentagon employees from participating in same-sex weddings and would prohibit the use of military installations for such purposes. The Democratic-majority Senate has yet to consider the legislation.

Akin sent a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in May, signed by 62 other members of Congress, when the Navy issued its own guidelines permitting chaplains to officiate over same-sex weddings, anticipating the eventual end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"We find it difficult to understand how the military is somehow exempt from abiding by federal law," the letter said. "Offering up federal facilities and federal employees for same-sex marriages violates DOMA, which is still the law of the land and binds our military, including chaplains."

Six states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage. The Obama Justice Department has stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court and President Barack Obama has called for its repeal.

For gay and lesbian service members, the end of "don't ask, don't tell" presents a new challenge: gaining for same-sex couples the same housing, medical and family support benefits that are available to opposite-sex couples. Federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice currently prevent that.

"Same work, same risk, same sacrifice equals same pay and benefits," Sarvis said. "Now that's not going to be true for legally married gay and lesbian service members. And it's an inequity that service members are going to complain about, and I believe their commanders in the field will be receptive when the troops point out this inequity."

"Just on the face of it, you'd think there would be an equal protection claim there," said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the federal law.

Sarvis said his organization and its allies were pursuing a fix through Congress and the courts, but that it would be in the best interest of the Pentagon and Congress to resolve the issue themselves rather than having the courts make a decision that affected the military.

"It's pretty extraordinary when our courts are directing the armed forces," he said. "That's not a scenario the executive branch or the armed forces are comfortable with."

Price said it might be only a matter of time before the military took the lead.

"I think the military could become a progressive force," he said. "It's an evolution that one could imagine."

ON THE WEB

Pentagon memo on military chaplains

Rep. Akin's letter to Navy Secretary Mabus

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California gay couple challenges federal marriage act
McClatchy Newspapers 2011

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/09/30/1 ... z1ZcmSmbMI

October 2, 2011
8:12 pm
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greeney2
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Be interresting to see how this really plays out. The military also have specific rules about co-mingling between Officers and NCO's other enlisted grades, as well as Senior NCO's with lower ranking grades. How can you have a Gunny Sgt. of a platoon, marry one of his PFC's?

How they might handle a same sex military couple marriage, will open up many new issues. How they will do things, like on base housing, if they still have that. Off base housing allowances? Domestic partner situations rather than actual marriage? Certain married pay or deductions, etc. etc. If it were as simple as just going to get a marriage licence and getting married, but there are many many issues they are not prepared for. Tax forms, tax laws, forms for almost everything may need to be changed. Believe me, nobody pinned down under fire in a foxhole, ever cared if the guy next to him was gay, he just didn't want him running out of ammo. The Marine Corp Ball may never be the same. Laugh

October 4, 2011
8:34 pm
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bionic
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like Bob Dillon always says, "The times, they are a changing"

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

October 4, 2011
8:59 pm
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zoltan2
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"bionic" wrote: like Bob Dillon always says, "The times, they are a changing"

Its Bob Dylan

October 4, 2011
9:12 pm
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greeney2
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I like the way Matt Dillion changed things. Laugh

October 4, 2011
11:16 pm
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zoltan2
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:naughty:

"greeney2" wrote: I like the way Matt Dillion changed things. Laugh

:naughty: :naughty: :snooty:

October 5, 2011
6:54 am
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bionic
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"zoltan2" wrote: [quote="bionic"]like Bob Dillon always says, "The times, they are a changing"

Its Bob Dylan

um..I am, kind of, an idiot..so..um..bare with me
tks, fyi
still..the thought.the idea..the concept...yah know

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

December 11, 2011
11:51 pm
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frrostedman
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If our next president is Republican, all this gay/military stuff might get repealed.

The next Republican president is going to spend the first year in office doing nothing but trying to get the country back to where it was before Obama "fundamentally transformed" it. 🙄

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

December 12, 2011
12:57 am
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greeney2
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It take one swipe of the Pen for the President to do that. We had a jerk named Jimmy Carter who cancelled the B-1 bomber. 20,000 people out of work in an instant. The program was stopped and they were instantly released. Ronald Reagan came along and with one stoke of his pen, brought the B-1 bomber back. I wouldn't count on any changes to these gay issues, but I think they have probably generated many legistics problems they were not ready for. I also doubt if its very widespread anyway(gay military marriage).

December 12, 2011
2:35 am
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frrostedman
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"greeney2" wrote: It take one swipe of the Pen for the President to do that. We had a jerk named Jimmy Carter who cancelled the B-1 bomber. 20,000 people out of work in an instant. The program was stopped and they were instantly released. Ronald Reagan came along and with one stoke of his pen, brought the B-1 bomber back. I wouldn't count on any changes to these gay issues, but I think they have probably generated many legistics problems they were not ready for. I also doubt if its very widespread anyway(gay military marriage).

One logistical problem is, bathroom and shower accomodations.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

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