Akin: DOD allowing chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages is illegal

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) charged Friday that a Pentagon decision to conduct same-sex marriages on military bases is part of a "liberal agenda" and is illegal.

The Pentagon announced just weeks after the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy was formally abolished that military chaplains can participate in "any" private marriage ceremony that is in accordance with state and local laws.


“A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law,” according to a portion of the new guidance posted on the Pentagon's website. If a ceremony goes beyond the chaplain's religious beliefs, however, he or she is not required to participate, the guidance states.

“Determinations regarding the use of DOD real property and facilities for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies, should be made on a sexual-orientation neutral basis, provided such use is not prohibited by applicable state and local laws,” the Pentagon guidance states.

That does not sit well with many conservatives, including Akin.

“The Department of Defense has decided to put the White House’s liberal agenda ahead of following the law," Akin, chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said in a statement Friday. 

"The Defense of Marriage Act makes it clear that for the purposes of the federal government, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman," Akin said. "The use of federal property or federal employees to perform gay marriage ceremonies is a clear contravention of the law."

In February, President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that parts of the law are unconstitutional.

A Pentagon spokesman had not yet responded to an inquiry seeking a comment.