A little more than a year after repeal
of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet
Chapel at West Point hosted its first gay wedding.
On Saturday, Brenda Sue Fulton and
Penelope Gnesin married in a ceremony conducted by Army Chaplain Col.
J. Wesley Smith of Dover Air Force Base.
Fulton, a West Point graduate, serves
as a presidential appointee to the West Point Board of Visitors. She
is also the executive director of Knights Out, an organization of
LGBT West Point graduates, and serves on the OutServe-SLDN Board of
The couple, together 17 years, said
they would have preferred to marry in their home state of New Jersey
but decided they “couldn't wait any longer,” particularly because
Gnesin, 52, is a “breast cancer survivor, and has been dealing with
Multiple Sclerosis for more than ten years.” New Jersey currently
recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. A marriage
bill approved last year by lawmakers was vetoed by Governor Chris
“It is wonderful for us to celebrate
the recognition that New York state will give our marriage,” Fulton
said, then added that “there is also some regret that we can't get
married in our home state.”
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director
Allyson Robinson attended the ceremony with her wife Danyelle, both
of whom are West Point graduates and married in the Cadet Chapel in
1994, prior to Allyson's gender transition.
“Witnessing the joining of Sue and
Penny in holy matrimony in this sacred place means a great deal to
gay and lesbian alumni of West Point, and to all LGBT service
members,” Robinson said in a statement. “It sends a clear
message that we, too, are part of the 'Long Gray Line' of graduates
and that we will not back down until our families receive the same
respect and the same benefits other military families do.”