The Washington Times - January 31, 2013, 12:13PM

Chuck Hagel assured the Senate on Thursday that military chaplains will not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages they disagree with — though the defense secretary nominee said same-sex couples will have access to chapels.

Some chaplains have said they fear their careers are being harmed if they opt out of conducting same-sex marriage services because it violates the precepts of their faith.

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Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican, asked Mr. Hagel at his confirmation hearing Thursday whether chaplains will have freedom of conscience.

“Certainly,” said Mr. Hagel, a former senator. “What we don’t want, though, is, Senator [Mark] Udall’s point, is someone to be denied to be married in a chapel.”