Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scratch that: Navy scraps plans to allow same-sex marriages

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US Navy Chaplain Corps seal
US Navy Chaplain Corps

Well, fuck. Remember back on Monday, when I touched on how the US Navy had issued new guidelines to chaplains giving them the powers (but not the obligation) to officiate same-sex weddings on select military bases in the wake of the DADT repeal? Well, naturally, the bigoted Christian-Right raised a holy uproar over it all, and sadly, it looks like they were once again successful in setting the equality movement back a notch:

In a memo released late Tuesday, chief Navy chaplain Mark Tidd said his previous instructions, part of the military's ongoing effort to revise its policies before lifting the ban on openly gay service members, were "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."

A Navy spokesman declined to elaborate on reasons for the move. But it follows mounting pressure from a group of 63 congressional Republicans who objected to the policy change in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus late last week.

"Offering up federal facilities and federal employees for same-sex marriages violates DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act], which is still the law of the land and binds our military, including chaplains," they wrote. The law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The Navy had previously rationalized that marrying same-sex couples on bases located in states where gay marriage was already allowed was perfectly legal. Now, disregarding my contempt for marriage equality opponents, I admittedly have no idea whether the Navy’s interpretation was correct, or if they really did act in violation of DOMA – which, bigoted and wrong as it is, is indeed still the law of the land until officially struck down.

We’ll have to wait and see what the lawyers think of the issue, but for now, it looks like there isn’t any new progress for gays and lesbians in the military to report after all.