Two Men Get Married On a Military Base for the First Time Ever
Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and civilian Will Behrens had their civil union in a place that would have been impossible nine months ago. The two proved their commitment to each other in the union service on a military base in New Jersey. On June 23rd, Umali and Behrens said “I do” in front of 159 guests at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Their union is not only made special by their love, but they are the first gay couple to have a wedding or civil union on a military base in the Unites States.
The newlyweds hope that their decision to marry on a military base is will be a sign to those who want to live an open heterosexual life on the military base. Back in September, the U.S. military repealed their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy after 18 years. The policy would discharge homosexuals who were outed or who came out in the military. Now that the policy has been repealed, homosexuals are free to be open about their identity and embrace their sexuality without the fear of being discharged.
Umali, who is an active-duty serviceman in the air force, is happy to no longer have to live in fear. In an interview on Wednesday he said, “It’s a struggle that Will and I have gone through and so many people are going through. Now I can introduce Will as my partner or my husband instead of my friend or my boyfriend. We don’t have to live in fear.”
The move is a huge advance in the push for gay rights in America. Just a month ago, President Barack Obama expressed open support for gay marriage, and also helped to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as part of his presidential agenda. His strong support for the gay community has led to him being dubbed by Newsweek to be “The First Gay President.”
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