There are 190 military chapels on bases in England and Wales that are available for heterosexual marriages – but gay people can’t get married there, because none of the churches authorised to operate out of publicly-funded military chapels permit gay weddings.Same-sex weddings are currently banned by all of the main religious denominations with UK military Sending Church status. As only Sending Church clergy can operate out of military chapels, this means that same-sex weddings are effectively still banned from the publicly-funded services.
But the Defence Minister has officially confirmed that the scheme which will allow same-sex weddings to take place on the military bases had been developed. She said: “The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 reflects the Government’s commitment that no religious organisation or representative will be forced to conduct or participate in same sex marriages. 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. The timing of the project is being finalised but I anticipate that it will start shortly and run for a number of months.”