London, May 12 (IANS) Gay armed forces personnel will soon be allowed to wed in the chapels of military bases after an Armed Forces minister announced a pilot scheme due to begin in the near future.
Same-sex marriage was legalised by the British government in 2013, but 12 different Christian sects still disallow it in the armed forces.
Tory minister Penny Mordaunt, according to RT online, told lawmakers in a written answer that she approached the religious heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force in 2015 to get advice on how such ceremonies could be implemented.
She reported that under existing laws they could not be forced to carry out gay weddings. But she reported she “recently directed that a pilot project was 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 finalized, but I anticipate that it will start shortly and run for a number of months,” she explained.
The British military dropped its ban on homosexuals in 2000, but since the Army began to record soldiers’ sexuality on a voluntary basis at the start of 2015 figures show only 230 out of 80,000 troops identified as gay or bisexual.