Half a dozen years ago it would have been unthinkable, but on November 2, two men who graduated from West Point were “married” to each other at the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel (shown) — the same sacred place of Christian worship that has held the funerals and memorial services of fallen soldiers and august military commanders.
The Associated Press reported that Larry Choate III, a 2009 West Point graduate, and Daniel Lennox, a 2007 graduate, married in a ceremony attended by some 20 family and friends. “Choate, 27, taught Sunday school at the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel and said he always thought of it as the place he would get married if he could,” reported the AP.
“It's maybe one more barrier that's pushed over a little bit, or maybe one more glass ceiling that's shattered that makes it easier for the next couple,” Choate quipped before the controversial ceremony. Neither of the men is currently active in military service.
In 2012, West Point officials allowed the academy's first two same-sex ceremonies, when, within a two-week period, two women who had graduated from the academy married their lesbian partners, one at the Cadet Chapel and the other at the Old Cadet Chapel, which is located in West Point's cemetery.
Ironically, the Cadet Prayer, which graces the Cadet Chapel, reads in part: “Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life.”
In October 2011, barely two weeks after the end of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” which officially enforced the military's 200-plus-year ban on homosexuals in military service, the Pentagon issued a policy update allowing military chaplains to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies. “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law,” a memo on the Defense Department's website explained. The memo added, however that “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”
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