Military Chapels May Be Required to Host Same-Sex Weddings
Equal marriage was introduced in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014, but there hasn’t been a same-sex marriage in a Ministry of Defence (MOD) chapel.
The Daily Telegraph reports that MOD chapels have been told they ‘must permit’ same-sex wedding ceremonies. The MOD has denied this.
What we do know is that Defence Minister, Penny Mordaunt, has encouraged The Sending Churches (the Christian denominations who send Chaplains to the MOD chapels) to implement the 2014 Marriage (Same-Sex Couples Act).
For example, the Catholic Church and the Church of England do not allow their premises or their ministers to participate in same-sex weddings. Both of these Churches send chaplains to MOD chapels.
Chapels are different, however. They don't come under the same classification as churches, and military chapels are owned by the MOD which does allow same-sex marriages.
It’s a unique situation: the premises should be available to same-sex couples serving in the armed forces, but the chaplains are restricted by their individual churches as to the type of ceremonies they are allowed to perform there.
Ms Mordaunt is concerned that gay members of the armed forces are not being fairly represented.
There are currently 190 military chapels in England and Wales, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes of Ms Mordaunt’s request in 2016.