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WWII, Vietnam vets marry in veterans home first same-sex wedding

Saturday, September 14, 2013
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CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Two U.S. military veterans married this week when a senior living facility for military veterans held its first ever same-sex marriage.

John Banvard (left) and Gerard Nadeau

John Banvard (left) and Gerard Nadeau

John Banvard, 95, a World War II veteran, married his partner of 20 years, Gerard Nadeau, 67, a Vietnam veteran, in a ceremony Thursday at the Veterans Home of Chula Vista in suburban San Diego.

The couple told KSWB-TV they wanted to have their ceremony among friends, so they chose to have it at the Veteran’s Home, where they’ve lived for the last three years.

The decision to get married was made after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, and another decision that cleared the way for gay couples to marry in California.

“We were waiting on the Supreme Court to make that decision,” said Banvard.

The simple ceremony was attended by the couple’s friends who also live at the facility one of whom noted, “The world is changing, we have to go along with it.” said one guest.

KSWB-TV reports:

Facility director Neal Asper said news of two men getting married at the VA home wasn’t well received by everyone. A town hall meeting was held at the VA home to address concerns from other residents.

“It’s been somewhat controversial,” said Asper. “I told them, they have the right to get married here just like everybody else.”

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