Two men became the first same-sex couple to marry on a military base when they held their wedding ceremony last month at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
Tech Sgt. Erwynn Umali and his partner, Will Behrens, married June 23 on the base where Umali, an active member of the Air Force, had been stationed. It was a decision that would have been unthinkable just nine months ago, before the law requiring them to keep their relationship a secret was repealed.
“We asked [about holding the ceremony on the base], and they were very open about it, but [said], ‘No one has ever asked us this question before,’” Umali said in a Facebook chat hosted by Slate. “We did not get any push back from the base or leadership. All they asked was that we be patient because this was the very first one.”
Both men say this positive reaction is the same sort of response they have gotten since going public with their relationship to Umali’s peers in the military. After Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed last September, Umali decided to open up about his relationship with Behrens.