December 1, 2011
By Jacob Combs
Thanks to Sagesse for bringing this to us in Quick Hits. The Army Times reports that yesterday, the Senate voted to allow military chaplains to choose not to perform gay marriages if they if they are personally or religiously opposed to the practice. The measure was passed by a voice vote with no debate, and attached to the 2012 military authorization bill.
Pentagon policy already allows chaplains to decide which marriages they wish to perform, if any. Wicker’s amendment is intended to put that policy into law to alleviate concerns among some that the Defense Department could change its its rules at some point and require chaplains to perform same-sex marriages. Of course, it’s worth arguing about the need for the amendment in light of the current policy.
The bill, introduced by Senator Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, is a more moderate version than the one the House introduced into its authorization bill, which would prohibit military chaplains from performing any same-sex marriage. That measure passed this summer, 236-184. The different versions will have to be reconciled before the bill is passed.