West Point Chapel Hosts First Same-Sex Wedding
An Excerpt From USA Today:
The U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel at West Point hosted its first same-sex marriage Saturday.
Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in
the regal church in a ceremony conducted by a senior Army chaplain. The
ceremony comes a little more than a year after President Obama ended
the military policy banning openly gay people from serving.
two have been together for 17 years. They had a civil commitment
ceremony that didn't carry any legal force in 1999 but had longed to
formally tie the knot. The couple live in New Jersey and would have preferred to have the wedding there, but the state doesn't allow gay marriage.
at the wedding posted photos on Twitter while it was under way and
afterward. Fulton said the Cadet Chapel on the campus at West Point was a
"It has a tremendous history, and it is beautiful. That's where I first heard and said the cadet prayer," Fulton said. Fulton
said that when she requested the West Point chapel, she was told that
none of the chaplains who preside there come from a denomination that
allowed them to celebrate a gay marriage. Their marriage was officiated
by a friend, Army Chaplain Col. J. Wesley Smith of Dover Air Force Base.
a veteran and the communications director of an organization called
OutServe — which represents actively serving gay, lesbian and bisexual
military personnel — confirmed in an e-mail to USA TODAY Friday night:
"We will be the first same sex couple to wed at the Cadet Chapel at West
The wedding was the second gay marriage West Point has
hosted. The first was a small, private ceremony last weekend between two
of Fulton's friends in a smaller venue on the campus.
thrilled for Sue and Penny, and along with them, look forward to a day
when this kind of event no longer makes headlines and all Americans
enjoy the freedom to marry and the justice of those marriages being
recognized," said Zeke Stokes, spokesman for OutServe.
September 2011, the Pentagon issued guidance stating that
"determinations regarding the use of DOD real property and facilities
for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies, should
be made on a sexual-orientation neutral basis, provided such use is not
prohibited by applicable state and local laws." The policy change
came with the caveat that the use of a military facility does not
constitute an endorsement of gay marriage by the Defense Department.
July 2011, President Obama named Fulton to the West Point Board of
Visitors, making her the first openly gay member of the board that
advises the Academy. She graduated from West Point in 1980, part
of the first class of cadets that included women, and later founded an
organization called KnightsOut, which describes itself as "an
organization of West Point Alumni, Staff and Faculty who are united in
supporting the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender soldiers
to openly serve their country."
Fulton, 53, said she was getting
married at the academy because "West Point has been an important part
of my life," but also because Republican Gov. Chris Christie in her home
state of New Jersey vetoed a gay marriage bill earlier this year.
had always said that we wanted to get married in New Jersey," Fulton
told USA Today, but "we didn't want to wait any longer," particularly
because Gnesim, 52, is a breast cancer survivor and suffers from
Had to post. The military means so much to me, and I'm so proud of the strides it's taking forward. Ladybug went to the Marine Ball a few weeks ago, stag, or so he told us? Not sure what's going on with him nowadays. He posted pictures of himself doing Michael Jackson poses on a Humvee in the desert, so I'm beginning to wonder :D