The first same-sex marriage at West Point’s Cadet Chapel will be celebrated Saturday – when a military veteran and her partner exchange vows roughly one year after President Obama ended the military policy banning openly gay people from serving in the military.
The ceremony will take place in the Military Academy's Cadet Chapel between Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin.
Fulton is a military veteran and spokeswoman for Outserve – an advocacy group for actively serving gay, lesbian and bisexual military personnel, reported first by USA Today.
West Point hosted its first same-sex marriage last weekend, but it was a private ceremony at a smaller campus venue.
Obama in September 2011 ended the U.S. military's so-called “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gays from serving openly. And the Pentagon issued a statement at about the same time allowing same-sex marriages at U.S. military facilities.
However, the Defense Department has made clear the policy change does not constitute its endorsement of gay marriage.
The 20-year-old Defense of Marriage Act still prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. New York approved gay marriage in June 2011.
The 53-year-old Fulton graduated from West Point in 1980, as part of the first class of cadets that included women, according to USA Today.
Fulton has said she wanted to get married now and at West Point because the academy has been “an important part of my life” and because such marriages are banned in her home state of New Jersey and Gnesin, 52, is a cancer survivor and has multiple sclerosis.