The Navy will allow its chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages once the military's ban on gay marriage is officially lifted this summer, according to a new memo written by Navy's head chaplain, Rear Admiral Mark Tidd.
The memo's guidance, which serves to train chaplains on a number new procedures to be instituted along with the repeal of don't ask don't tell, went through a rigorous legal review before being issued.
The memo reads: "Regarding the use of base facilities for same-sex marriages, legal counsel has concluded that generally speaking, base facility use is sexuality orientation neutral. If the base is located in a state where same-sex is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage."
Navy marriages on Navy bases typically involve Navy Chaplains, but the memo goes on to say the chaplains involvement is not mandatory and he or she could decline to participate if gay marriage is not "consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization."
On Monday Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., released a statement saying the Navy's new policy violates the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. "While a state may legalize same-sex marriage, federal property and federal employees, like Navy chaplains, should not be used to perform marriages that are not recognized by federal law," Akin says.
The Navy is hoping to have all its chaplains trained on the new guidelines by the end of June, and the Pentagon is expected remove the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy sometime this summer.