Social conservatives have condemned the
U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel at West Point for hosting 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 wedding comes more than a year
after the military ended “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the policy
which for 18 years banned gay and bisexual troops from serving
Elaine Donnelly, president of the
Center for Military Readiness (CMR), a group which opposed repeal of
the law, said such ceremonies were a consequence of the new policy.
“Even though Congress made it very
clear and it's in the legislation that they intended the Defense of
Marriage Act to be respected and honored on military bases, several
times now the administration has allowed various branches of the
service to disregard that,” Donnelly told One
News Now. “This is the most blatant example. I think West
Point is going to ... disappoint many of its alumnus community. And
I think that some people may start to question, 'What is the purpose
of the military service academies?'”
Tony Perkins, president of the
Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC), criticized the
military for “defying” the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“Army officials are experts at
following orders – except when it comes to federal marriage law,”
Perkins said in a statement. “For the second time in two weeks,
the brass at West Point opened its gates to lesbian 'wedding'
ceremonies in direct defiance of the Defense of Marriage Act. Adding
insult to the law's injury, Saturday's service was held in the Cadet
Chapel, a 176-year-old house of worship that has been the heartbeat
of the Academy's Christian community for almost two centuries.
Brenda Fulton, one of the 'brides,' said the Chapel was a
particularly meaningful site, because it's where she first heard the
Cadet Prayer: 'Make us to choose the harder right instead of the
easier wrong' – words that, in the end, even West Point failed to
live up to. Fulton and her same-sex partner marched down the aisle
knowing full well they were leading the military's own processional
away from the rule of law.”