As of this today U.S. military chaplains will be able to officiate in same-sex marriage and civil union ceremonies, following the repeal of the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Clifford L. Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, gave notice this morning to all secretaries of the U.S. military departments and chiefs of the military services, stating that military chaplains “may now participate in or officiate in any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.”
The move supersedes prior Department of Defense regulations and policies to the contrary, and follows the official repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy regarding gay and lesbian servicemen and women, and coincides with the retirement of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, whose testimony against the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was instrumental in getting it repealed.
Here’s the full text of Stanley’s memorandum, dated September 30, 2011:
MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARIES OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS CHIEFS OF THE MILITARY SERVICES
SUBJECT: Military Chaplains
In connection with the repeal of Section 654 of Title 10 of the United States Code, I write to provide the following guidance, which hereby supersedes any Department regulation or policy to the contrary:
A military chaplain may participate in or officiate in 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 or personal beliefs. Finally, a military chaplain’s participation in a private ceremony does not constitute an endorsement of the ceremony by DoD.
[signed] Clifford L. Stanley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Counsel of the Department of Defense
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