Congressmen fight same-sex marriage in the Navy

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In the Navy, you can sail the seven seas, but if you're a gay man, you really can't put your mind at ease, especially if you're interested in getting married. But as the "don't ask, don't tell" era draws to a close, the Pentagon is slowly changing rules that limit gay rights in the military, and an April 13 memo from a Navy officer told Navy chaplains that same-sex civil-union marriages could be performed in on-base chapels in states where civil unions are legal. "Regarding the use of base facilities for same-sex marriages, legal counsel has concluded that, generally speaking, base facility use is sexual orientation-neutral," wrote Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, who's in charge of Navy chaplains. "This is a change to previous training that stated same-sex marriages are not authorized on federal property."

Sounds pretty benign, right? Not to sixty-three congressmen, who wrote to the secretary of the Navy arguing that the new rule violated the Defense of Marriage Act (itself on its way out the door, if we're lucky). According to the website of Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), "My colleagues and I are calling on the secretary of the Navy to make sure that the Navy actually follows the law. As we state in the letter, 'It is not the place of any citizen of this country to pick and choose which laws they are going to obey.'" Which sounds reasonable, except that there are probably some laws that concern Todd Akin more than others, and from my point of view, this seems like a pretty silly one to expend a lot of energy enforcing. As an aside, even with Don't Ask, Don't Tell repealed, the military still doesn't provide marriage benefits to same-sex veterans, even in states where same-sex marriage is recognized. These facts are not much fun, so please enjoy this video.