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First same-sex couple weds at West Point chapel

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:33 a.m. HST, Dec 01, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. » Cadet Chapel, the landmark gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was hosting its first same-sex wedding today.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, were exchanging vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony attended by around 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

The two have been together for 17 years. They had a civil commitment ceremony that didn't carry any legal force in 1999 but had long hoped to formally tie the knot. The way was cleared last year, when New York legalized same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama lifted the "Don't ask, don't tell," policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.

The brides both live in New Jersey and would have preferred to have the wedding there, but the state doesn't allow gay marriage.

"We just couldn't wait any longer," Fulton said.

Cadet Chapel, she said, was a more-than-adequate second choice.

"It has a tremendous history, and it is beautiful. That's where I first heard and said the cadet prayer," Fulton said, referring to the invocation that says, "Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won."

The ceremony will be the second same-sex wedding at West Point. Last weekend, two of Fulton's friends, a young lieutenant and her partner, got married in another campus landmark, the small Old Cadet Chapel in West Point's cemetery.

Fulton has campaigned against the ban on gays in the military as a board member of two groups representing gay and lesbian servicemen and servicewomen. She was part of the first West Point class to include women.

Fulton said the only hassle involved in arranging her ceremony came when she was initially told that none of West Point's chaplains were authorized by their denominations to perform same-sex weddings.

Luckily, she said, they were able to call on a friend, Army Chaplain Col. J. Wesley Smith. He is the senior Army chaplain at Dover Air Force Base, where he presides over the solemn ceremonies held when the bodies of soldiers killed in action overseas return to U.S. soil.

The couple planned on adding other military trappings to their wedding, including a tradition called the saber arch, where officers or cadets hold their swords aloft over the newlyweds as they emerge from the church.

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HollyJHuber wrote:
on December 1,2012 | 09:45AM
daniwitz13 wrote:
To oblivion and to our peril. Pity.
on December 1,2012 | 10:28AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Your peril possibly, but not the rest of us. Pity.
on December 1,2012 | 10:52AM
Kalli wrote:
Rest of us? Speak for yourself.
on December 1,2012 | 11:16AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I do. And the majority in this country who believe our gay and lesbian parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, and just plain fellow citizens deserve full equal rights. You are on the wrong side of history AND justice. Pity.
on December 1,2012 | 12:20PM
hawaiikone wrote:
If you're able to sincerely say that after prayer, seeking guidance for this particular issue, that Jesus approves of homosexuality, then I have no argument with you. It's really immaterial what this or any other nation does with homosexual "rights". Nations come and go.. Our judgment comes from God, not man, and our honesty in trying to follow His leading is what will truly count. No debates, no voting, just me and my life in His presence.
on December 1,2012 | 12:57PM
false wrote:
well said.
on December 1,2012 | 02:17PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Religions come and go - the less religious we are the more we advance as a society.
on December 2,2012 | 07:57PM
8082062424 wrote:
No green this country split right down the middle on this issues and a few others.You keep saying wrong side of history.Do you really believe in ten years every one will come around and say this life style is ok or normal. Far from it years from now they will still be two sides to this issue. and when they get what they after i hope it will be enough. no paper going to change what in folks hearts and minds. there will be those who oppose it because it not normal or because of there faith that will never change. It based on a life style nothing more. same as some folks think any one who believes in god is nuts. people will still have there own personal feeling. This agenda has showed it ugly side in the past year. same as churches who show a ugly side people stop feeling sorry for them
on December 1,2012 | 03:08PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Sorry, but I think the majority is undecided. When one looks at this on a personal level, it is easy to see. But when you look at it in the overall picture, its something that is hard to accept. I am not homophobic but there are still elements of society that are really not sure.
on December 1,2012 | 07:14PM
honopic wrote:
You misspelled your name again, dimwit.
on December 1,2012 | 03:05PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Fact is Marriage Equality has harmed NO ONE! This is progress to creating a more perfect union!
on December 2,2012 | 07:44AM
serious wrote:
Duty, Honor, Country!! I think I'll turn in my war bonds!!!
on December 1,2012 | 11:08AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Go for it.
on December 1,2012 | 12:20PM
honopic wrote:
I'll buy 'em if you swear under oath never to post again!
on December 1,2012 | 03:07PM
Kalli wrote:
Too bad that when they took their oath of office they lied about being homosexuals. The military has a purpose and it's purpose is not to be a social innovator. Personally the don't ask don't tell worked just fine, now the gays will force everyone around them to know they are gay. Ever spend a year in Afghanistan with a gay soldier watching you take a shower?
on December 1,2012 | 11:16AM
HollyJHuber wrote:
Grow up!
on December 1,2012 | 12:04PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Did you?
on December 1,2012 | 12:18PM
honopic wrote:
No. And I doubt you did either. I doubt you ever served anywhere. There is no question about a person's sexuality in the enlistment oath. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the UCMJ, so help me God." 46 years after taking that oath, I still remember it. It said nothing about a person's sex, creed, color, or choice of friends or partners. When did you take the oath?
on December 1,2012 | 03:19PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
MAHALO! Well said!
on December 2,2012 | 07:38AM
IAmSane wrote:
Gay people are getting married, folks. Yes. Nasty! Imagine that. Two women. Touching on each other's тiттуваlls. Gently stroking those niррles til they get so stiff and ereст. вlоwing on 'em...
on December 1,2012 | 04:21PM
itsok wrote:
what amazing wisdom in these words: "Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won."
on December 1,2012 | 05:24PM
Bdpapa wrote:
on December 1,2012 | 07:11PM
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