Navy officials have retracted guidance that would have allowed chaplains to perform weddings for same-sex couples in some states. The retraction follows expressions of outrage by some members of Congress at the release of an April 13 memo on don't ask, don't tell repeal training.
In that directive, Navy Chief of Chaplains Adm. Mark Tidd said navy chaplains would have the option to officiate at a same-sex union, if it agreed with their religious beliefs and the laws of the state.
But Tidd has now sent out another memo that suspends until further notice pending additional legal and policy review his earlier memo, reports The Associated Press.
Opponents of the guidance claim that the memo violates the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting federal recognition of gay marriage, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Although the Obama administration has denounced the law as unconstitutional and said it will not defend it in court, the law will remain on the books even after don't ask, don't tell, the ban on gays serving in the military, is lifted later this year.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) released a letter signed by 62 other lawmakers that called on Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to obey the Defense of Marriage Act.
The law of the land is that the federal government defines marriage as between one man and one woman, Akin wrote. This new guidance from the navy clearly violates the law. While our President may not like this law, it is unbelievable that our navy would issue guidance that clearly violates this law.