Church heads have been ordered to permit same-sex marriages in military chapels following an 18-month stand-off.
In 2014, regulations were passed to allow same-sex marriages in the 190 military chapels in England and Wales, despite opposition from some Conservative MPs. No such marriages have taken place since then, however, due to the employment of a ‘veto’ by church leaders.
Defence minister Penny Mordaunt today said she had a duty to ‘consider the rights’ of gay military personnel, and had asked military chaplains how ‘Parliament’s sanction’ will be enforced, effectively ordering them to permit same-sex marriages.
‘The Ministry of Defence allows same-sex marriages in military chapels, but none of the Sending Churches using the chapels currently allows same-sex marriages to be conducted there,’ she said.
‘I have asked the Chaplaincies of the three Services to advise me on how Parliament’s sanction of same sex-marriages may be fully implemented.’
The Ministry of Defence declined to expand on Ms Mordaunt’s remarks, but it is understood the defence minister, who is also the MP for Portsmouth, has posed a series of questions to teach sending church about their stance on the marriages.
The sending churchs include the Church of England, the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, United Reformed and Congregational churches.