No Homosexual “Marriages” at West Point Chapel
While homosexual ceremonies may be permissible on military institutions according to the Pentagon, it appears that ruling may not extend to the Catholic chapel at West Point.
Taylor Henry, spokesman for Archbishop Timothy Broglio — who oversees all Catholic chaplains in the US military — said
the Holy Trinity chapel at the famous military school is a Catholic parish, unlike the non-denominational chapels that are found on other military installations, and that the only services held there are Catholic services.
Since the Roman Catholic Church “does not perform the sacrament of matrimony for same-sex couples,” no such ceremonies will take place at that institution, Henry said.
In addition, consistent with the military’s message on the matter, Henry explicitly said no Catholic chaplain would be performing similar ceremonies of “unions between individuals of the same gender resembling marriage.”
Broglio also noted what some are saying is an inconsistency between the military’s recent policy and the Defense of Marriage Act:
“The Pentagon’s new policy, as outlined in these two memos, appears to ignore the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was signed into law 15 years ago and remains in effect.”
Similarly, Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews (USA, Retired) said
“I do not understand this administration’s lack of appreciation for law,” he says emphatically. “And Congress has already sent messages to the Department of Defense to remind them that federal installations are federal property and therefore subject to federal law.”
Frequent pundit LtCol Bob Maginnis (USA, Retired) went a step further:
He stresses that such officials are paid by the federal government, and he believes that even if the ceremonies are conducted by chaplains as private citizens, they will still be violating the law, “because a chaplain is on duty 7/24; they’re never off duty — just like every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine in the armed forces today. So that’s important to understand when you put this particular issue in context,” he says.
His step further may be a step too far, as the military generally recognizes a distinction in what military members do in their private versus official capacities. (For example, servicemembers can attend political rallies, but only apart from their official capacities.)
For his part, Chaplain Crews represents the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, which reportedly represents 2,000 of the approximately 5,000 chaplains in the US military. Along with the Catholic chaplains, they will also not be performing homosexual ceremonies in military chapels.