WASHINGTON (CNS) – Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and a group representing hundreds of other Christian military chaplains have objected to a Pentagon memo allowing military chaplains to participate in or officiate at same-sex marriages on or off military installations.
The memo was issued by Undersecretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley Sept. 30. It followed the Sept. 20 repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gays from serving openly in the armed forces.
Stanley’s memo said: “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate (at) any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.”
It also said that “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate (at) a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”
Archbishop Broglio has questioned how the military could allow chaplains in the U.S. armed forces to be involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies when the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits such unions.
A spokesman for the military archdiocese told Catholic News Service that it goes without saying that no Catholic chaplain will preside at same-sex weddings.
“There is nothing that has changed in church teaching about that,” he said.