Military officials have confirmed that Navy chaplains will be trained to perform same-sex civil marriage ceremonies, an announcement that has raised the ire of dozens of Federal lawmakers.
On May 9, Navy personnel confirmed that the branch will host gay marriage ceremonies if the Defense Department follows through on its repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." According to The Associated Press, Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines legal marriage as a union between a man and a woman, does not restrict same-sex marriages on a military base.
Gay marriage ceremonies would be allowed at military facilities such as chapels and catering centers, but only in States that recognize same-sex unions, the news provider reported. However, gay partners would not receive the health, housing or other benefits that are granted to traditional couples.
In response to recent announcement, Representative Todd Akin (R-Mo.) has sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus alleging that same-sex marriages on Federal property would violate DOMA. The letter was signed by 62 other Congressmen.
"It is not the place of any citizen of this country to pick and choose which laws they are going to obey," reads the letter. "We expect citizens sworn to defend those laws to set the example in their application."