The happy couple solemnized their wedding vows in a hunting lodge in Vermont just after midnight on September 20, 2011. Their wedding had been a long time coming.
The groom, Navy Lieutenant Gary Ross, a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, wore his dress uniform replete with service ribbons and medals. The other groom, Mr. Dan Swezy, wore civilian formal attire.
Lt. Ross works at Ft. Huachuca, an army installation in the desert of southern Arizona, and he and Mr. Swezy had been living in sin, as it were, and secrecy in Tucson. They flew to Vermont so that they would be in the eastern time zone and thus could be among the very first to say their wedding vows on September 20, 2011 - the day the military's discriminatory policy of Don't Ask - Don't Tell (DADT) belatedly and finally came off of the books.
The newlyweds are undoubtedly very happy, and deservedly so! Congratulations to them and to their friends and families! May the days of secrecy be over forever!
Air Force Lieutenant Josh Seefried, a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, is also very happy. Lt. Seefried has been using the pseudonym of J.D. Smith for the past several years as he built an underground network of over 4,000 gay, lesbian, transgendered, and bisexual military service members who maintained contact with one another through social networking accounts and email. His group, called Outserve, proved to be instrumental when the Pentagon, while reviewing DADT, sought input from gay service members. Lt. Seefried attended the White House ceremony, as himself, when President Obama signed the legislation that eventually outlawed gender discrimination in the military.
Of course, not everyone is happy. There are still a couple of soreheads in Congress who can't seem to politely abide change. Rep. Buck McKeon, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Joe Wilson, the chairman of that committee's personnel subcommittee, fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this week asking that he take action to delay the repeal of DADT. They said that Congress had not been adequately informed of the policy changes that will accompany the repeal. Pentagon personnel responded that Congress had been given complete information on the policy changes, and Mr. Panetta ignored their request.
Joe Wilson, "You lie!"
Congratulations to all of the members of the United States military on their new ability to serve as who they really are. Now you will finally be able to enjoy a good share of the freedom that you have been fighting and dying to attain for others. Today is every bit as significant as the day President Truman ended racial segregation in the military. Truman did the right thing - and so did this Congress and President Obama - and we as a country are better and stronger for their courageous actions!