Navy Halts Training Chaplains on Gay Unions

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The United States Navy has reversed its plan to train chaplains to perform gay marriages after 63 members of the U.S. House sent a letter of protest to Navy Secretary Ray Maybus.

In a one-sentence memo obtained by The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, said his earlier decision has been "suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and interdepartmental coordination."

The Navy said its lawyers wanted to do a more thorough review of the legal decision that allowed Navy chaplains to receive training to perform civil unions on military bases. The ceremonies would only be performed in states where same-sex unions are legal.

In the letter, members of the House said the plan to sanction gay marriages violated the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, by appearing to recognize and support same-sex marriages.
   
"We find it unconscionable that the United States Navy, a federal entity sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, believes it is their place alone to train and direct service members to violate federal law," the lawmakers' letter said.

The lawmakers also asked Mabus in the letter to direct the Navy to defend the Constitution, adding that individuals should not be allowed to pick and choose the laws they will follow.

Navy officials had said Monday that they updated the training after questions came up about civil ceremonies for gay couples.

Meanwhile,  Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., R-Calif., is seeking to delay the repeal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Hunter has authored an amendment that would require the army, marines, navy and air force service chiefs to certify that implementing the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" won't hurt military readiness.
    
The California congressman says repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" won't make the troops any safer or help achieve victory" in Afghanistan.

The amendment would be part of the 2012 defense spending bill.

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