Baptist group bars chaplains from same-sex rituals

AP News
Posted: Sep 06, 2013 11:11 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Southern Baptist Convention, which provides the largest share of active-duty military chaplains, has barred members from performing gay marriages and taking part in counseling sessions and couples retreats for same-sex couples.

An arm of the group, the North American Mission Board, issued the decision in the wake of the U.S. Department of Defense recognizing same-sex marriages and extending benefits to gay spouses.

A Defense Department spokesman did not immediately return a message.

The Pentagon, following a Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, said last month same-sex spouses of troops will be eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits as heterosexual spouses. The policy took effect Tuesday.

Stephen Moore

The military has 439 active-duty chaplains and 268 reserve-duty chaplains affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.