West Point Chapel to Host First Same Sex Wedding Ceremony

AP

The first same-sex wedding ceremony will be held Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Cadet Chapel, USA Today reported.

Two women, Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin, will exchange vows one year after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays from serving openly in the military came to an end.

“We will be the first same-sex couple to wed at the Cadet Chapel at West Point,” Fulton told USA Today in an email Friday night. She is a veteran and the communications director of OutServe, an organization for LGBT military personnel.

The wedding will actually be the second gay marriage held at the New York academy — two of Fulton’s friends married in a small, private ceremony elsewhere on campus last weekend — but the first held at the Cadet Chapel.

Fulton graduated from West Point in 1980 and was named to the West Point Board of Visitors by President Barack Obama in 2011, making her the first openly gay member of the academy’s advisory board.

“West Point has been an important part of my life,” Fulton told USA Today of her decision to marry there, but said it was also because New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill in her home state earlier this year.

Fulton said she and Gnesin always wanted to marry in New Jersey but “we didn’t want to wait any longer,” particularly because Gnesin is a breast cancer survivor and has multiple sclerosis. New York’s state legislature approved same-sex marriage last year.

The Pentagon issued new rules last year allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies on or off military installations in accordance with the law and the chaplain’s religious beliefs.