Marriage Protections for Military Chaplains

A conscience protection clause for military chaplains who morally object to gay marriage will likely soon be codified in law. The final version of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) includes a provision stating, “A military chaplain who, as a matter of conscience or moral principle, does not wish
to perform a marriage may not be required to do so.”

Chaplains have expressed concern about future Department of Defense requirements following the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Earlier this month, an official of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty declared, “Chaplains should be able to continue to serve our military personnel without fear of reprisal for their Biblically held views concerning sexuality and the definition of marriage.”

Notably, lawmakers also removed a provision from the final version of H.R. 1540 that would have ended the prohibition on sodomy and bestiality in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.