The Cadet Chapel at West Point has celebrated the first same-sex marriage in its history as of yesterday (Dec. 1). Since Obama ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” in September of 2011, the military has been unable to discriminate based on sexual orientation. They aren’t the first same-sex couple to marry at West Point, but they are the first to marry in that chapel. Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Gnesin were wed. ABC News reports,
But all that changed Saturday in the Cadet Chapel, a landmark gothic building on campus meant to signify the central symbols of West Point, including integrity, respect and honor. Fulton said it “felt right” given that her work to support gay and lesbian soldiers has been based on those values.
They are the first same-sex couple to marry in the chapel, though not the first to marry at West Point.
Fulton was one of the first women to attend West Point more than three decades ago, and she was a key player in the fight to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Last July, President Barack Obama appointed her to West Point’s Board of Visitors, making her the first openly gay or lesbian person to serve on it.
It seems fitting that one of the first women to attend West Point is part of the first same-sex marriages to take place there, especially in light of her being a vocal proponent for the repealing of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” without which such a marriage would have been impossible.
The suggestion to the happy couple that they marry at West Point is due to New York’s legalization of gay marriage in 2011. They have been together for 17 years, and thought they would be able to get married in their home state of New Jersey when a same-sex marriage bill passed through the state legislature in February of 2012. Unfortunately, Governor Christie vetoed that bill.