Same-sex marriage will no longer be blocked from taking place in British military chapels, the Government has announced.
The news, which was confirmed by Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt last week, will affect some 190 chapels located on Ministry of Defence (MoD) sites across the UK – which were previously only available for heterosexual marriages.
The Minister set out comprehensive plans to resolve the longstanding impasse between the Government and religious organisations to allow the use of MoD chapels for same-sex marriages – without imposing any obligation upon religious organisations to perform gay ceremonies under the new reforms.
Same-sex marriage was legalised by the British government in 2013, but disallowed in the armed forces by 12 Christian sects until the Minister announced her ‘pilot project’ late last week.
“Recognising the established position of the Sending Churches which does not allow for the conduct of same-sex marriages within military chapels, I have recently directed that a pilot project is implemented to explore registering Ministry of Defence sites for civil marriages and partnerships; this includes same-sex unions,” said the Defence Minister.
“No religious organisation or representative will be forced to conduct or participate in same sex marriages.”
Ms Mordaunt did not confirm an implementation date, but insisted that the reforms would take effect very soon.
“The timing of the project is being finalised but I anticipate that it will start shortly and run for a number of months,” she said.