WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — 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 Saturday.
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.
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.