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North Carolina

Same-sex couple’s wedding ceremony a first at Fort Bragg’s chapel

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Fayetteville Observer (YouTube)Maj. Daniel Toven and Johnathan Taylor kiss outside a Fort Bragg chapel.

Fayetteville Observer (YouTube)
Maj. Daniel Toven and Johnathan Taylor kiss outside a Fort Bragg chapel.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The base chapel at the home of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and the Green Berets is opening to same-sex ceremonies.

Maj. Daniel Toven and Johnathan Taylor celebrated their marriage Saturday in the 1930s-era Main Post Chapel on Fort Bragg with more than 100 family members and friends. The pair married in Washington, D.C., in August. North Carolina law bars gay marriage.

The service is believed to be the first for a same-sex couple at Fort Bragg since the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011.

“For me, it was my hope that someday before I retired that I might see the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” said Toven, who joined the Army in 2003. “This? I never imagined in a million years. It’s a dream come true.”

Toven, 44, is commander and conductor of the Army Ground Forces Band at Fort Bragg. Taylor, 24, is a registered nurse in a Fayetteville-area hospital and a pre-med student at Fayetteville Technical Community College and Methodist University.

Toven and Taylor have enjoyed the support of Toven’s military family, some of whom attended Saturday’s ceremony in uniform. Guests at the Episcopal service included a one-star general and a command sergeant major.

Also attending were Lt. Col. Heather Mack and her wife, who initially was barred from membership in the Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouses Club before the group relented earlier this year. The first same-sex war widow in the U.S. military also attended. Staff Sgt. Tracy Johnson’s wife, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, was killed in Afghanistan last year.

Toven and Taylor said they encountered no opposition to their ceremony from post officials and chaplains, a sign of the growing acceptance of same-sex military couples.

“We’ve been taken by surprise by the pace of change on Fort Bragg,” Toven told The Fayetteville Observer.

There have been same-sex ceremonies at other bases since th e repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” including at Fort Polk Army base in Louisiana and at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. This year, the military extended benefits to legally married same-sex spouses, regardless of whether the state where they are posted recognizes gay marriage.

Toven and Taylor’s life as a military couple “has been so normal it’s almost boring. It’s just life in the Army. It’s not the everyday gay Army. It’s just the everyday Army,” Taylor told The News & Observer of Raleigh.

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119 more reader comments:

  1. Woo!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:27pm
  2. Congratulations, and much happiness!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:28pm
  3. Congrats!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:28pm
  4. Congratulations!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:29pm
  5. That’s great! Congratulations!! :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:30pm
  6. This is so great :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:30pm
  7. Congrats to the happy couple.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:31pm
  8. never thought i’d EVER see the day! Congrats guys.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:32pm
  9. I like to see progress. Excellent. Joshua Reece should see this.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:34pm
  10. Wow lol

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:35pm
  11. I am very happy for you.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:35pm
  12. Love this!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:36pm
  13. This is awesome!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:36pm
  14. Congrats!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:36pm
  15. cute

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:38pm
  16. After a year in South Vietnam, I was assigned to HHD 35th Signal Group at Ft. Fort Bragg, N.C. to finish my last 5 months of Active Duty.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:39pm
  17. Woot woot now this is awesome

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:41pm
  18. WOW

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:42pm
  19. Like this a million times !

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:43pm
  20. woohooo yay

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:44pm
  21. Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:44pm
  22. WAY TO GO BIG HUGS

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:46pm
  23. Bravo!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:47pm
  24. congratulations to you both.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:49pm
  25. this bitter old queer is very happy for them.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:49pm
  26. very good to see it happen.. and with full support .. ya about time

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:50pm
  27. nunca me imaginei vendo uma cena dessas …amazing!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:51pm
  28. My mom was married there!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:54pm
  29. Gus A. Alvarado-Andino get married at Bragg!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:55pm
  30. Jinx Kent

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:56pm
  31. Chaaaaaooowwww…

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:58pm
  32. So glad that is THIS administration that eliminated DADT.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:00pm
  33. wow, that really is a first. i never thought i would see something like this. we really are growing.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:00pm
  34. I remember when stationed there Love it and Congrat’s to you Both..

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:05pm
  35. Great photo!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:05pm
  36. Congratulations guys :-)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:06pm
  37. That is so cool! Congratulations!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:08pm
  38. Full honors! Congratulations!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:08pm
  39. congrats

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:09pm
  40. Muy buena onda… es tan simple vivir sin problemas! la cuestion es ..proque nos gusta complicarnos la viad?

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:10pm
  41. scarbos SODOMA SI GOMORA

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:12pm
  42. Oh look gay servicemen in the armed forces AND yet the USA is still free umm

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:16pm
  43. Wonderful! What a BEAUTIFUL photo. Much Love & Congratulations… <3

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:18pm
  44. 9 days to go and we bryan and I get married after 23 yrs and 364 days of being together…. happy for the fort bragg clp may you have many years of joy

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:20pm
  45. Really cool!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:23pm
  46. That’s hot!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:23pm
  47. Too much awesome for one picture.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:29pm
  48. WOW!!! That’s a marriage to be proud of!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:29pm
  49. progress… :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:30pm
  50. Beautiful!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:32pm
  51. GREAT PICTURE, LOVE IT

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:34pm
  52. Proud of them, Fort Bragg, and the Episcopal Church! The priest who celebrated and is interviewed in the article is the former vicar of my parish, All Saints Episcopal Church! :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:39pm
  53. That is AMAZING <3 Totally made my day

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:43pm
  54. This is something that I thought I would never see, many congratulation’s to you both have a fantastic loving life together xxxx

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:49pm
  55. The times they are a changing. Enjoy. Congratulations to the two Green Berets. Happiness and joy .

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:57pm
  56. Yay!!! Congratulations…and a Wonder-Full Life <3

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:57pm
  57. <3

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:10pm
  58. Made my day :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:11pm
  59. Now they can bragg about it!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:12pm
  60. congratulation

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:32pm
  61. Awww, so wonderful.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:34pm
  62. YES!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:42pm
  63. Congratulations Grooms!! May your lives together be wonderful, and filled with love that gets stronger every day!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:42pm
  64. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!.<3

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:47pm
  65. salute

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:47pm
  66. Awesome so happy for you guys I wish you both the very best

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:59pm
  67. genialmente maravilloso chevere !!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:06pm
  68. Awesome to see Fort Bragg getting this right.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:16pm
  69. Congratulations boys :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:23pm
  70. :) so beautiful . congrats

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:32pm
  71. how lovely. And how good to see it – lovely couple…

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:35pm
  72. You guys look very handsome.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:43pm
  73. Yaaayyyy!!!!!all the best to the newlyweds hooray happy honeymoon!!!!!:):):):):):):)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:59pm
  74. That is awesome! A must share!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:06am
  75. Congrats, thts a verrrrrrrrry special pic n i pray the both of u liv life together to the fullest, plz dnt let jealous, hatn people spoil ur happiness. Keep ur head up ur pavn tht road for the rest of us. U both look amazn………sweet

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:11am
  76. Hahahaha and it will not be recognized one foot off the base!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:30am
  77. Congratulations! May you have many happy years together. You are a handsome couple.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:35am
  78. Congratulations <3

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:52am
  79. how sweet hmmmmmm

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:55am
  80. The times, they are a-changing! I think it’s great.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:58am
  81. Stanly is a party-pooper& drinks ”
    ” haterade”

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:00am
  82. What? in the army? in N.Carolina? incredible.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:25am
  83. Love conquers all!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:28am
  84. Congratulations! I’m proud to be here at Bragg when this milestone was reached :)

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:31am
  85. This is awesome. Love sure looks great.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:35am
  86. From our parish: “Thanks for sharing this news, Charlie! Daniel and Jonathan attended All Saints and Jonathan was confirmed and Daniel received a couple I years ago. I am so happy to see the article about their marriage and wish them all the best. Yay Episcopal Church and yay Harry Abernathy!!! Forward progress!!!”

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:47am
  87. Love is wonderous <3

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:50am
  88. That is awesome :)

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:53am
  89. I’m tearing up!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:57am
  90. This is great :) <3

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:20am
  91. It is so great to witness such a major milestone.Congratulations!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:21am
  92. Bringing down the walls!!!
    Congrats guys!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:23am
  93. love it!! hope my NC relatives see this!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:49am
  94. Disgusting!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:50am
  95. Congrats…

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3:00am
  96. Well, that’s a disgrace.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3:08am
  97. love is a wonderful thing … sure, maybe not as nice as a juicy blt, but it is damn close

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3:09am
  98. Ryan Edleblute

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3:17am
  99. Wow..awsome!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3:24am
  100. ♥ :D

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 8:58pm
  101. I’m sure there was some old generals head exploding

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 8:59pm
  102. so very sweet

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:00pm
  103. Awesome btw

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:01pm
  104. congratulations

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:02pm
  105. America’s finest equality for all

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:03pm
  106. that is awesome

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:32pm
  107. Congrats! Wishing you much happiness.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:38pm
  108. At Fort Bragg, really? Could you be any more disrespectful to this country? Might as well have spit on it while you were at it.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:48pm
  109. How is that disrespectful?

    Replied on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:55pm
  110. r u fuckin forreal how is it disrespectful to love someone and for that matter those same u r bashing r fighting for ur sorry ass sista .... ya better hope those same gentalmen are the ones to ur rescue when u have a wreck or something cuz if it was me id remember u and leave u ...

    Replied on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:10pm
  111. I served in the United States Army Military Intelligence Division 714th MI BN Augsburg Germany..I served with Pride..Did you, you self-serving irrelevant pariah of a bitch

    Replied on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:22pm
  112. You have LOST the gay war...stupid homophobic cunt

    Replied on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:24pm
  113. Dwight David Eisenhower must be spinning in his grave!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:50pm
  114. that is awesome as hell … congrats to u both

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:07pm
  115. Jennifer warren get ur fat head out of ur fat ass… In another note. Congrats! This wedding was very gay!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:30pm
  116. Hey hateful, name-calling, ignorant fools – I am an openly lesbian woman that has been with my partner for nearly 5 years. She is a Navy vet, from a long line of vets, and I am the daughter of an Air Force vet, with other close friends and family members that are still serving. I just don’t believe in forcing ANY agenda on any locale that is such a huge part of America’s history. Merry Christmas everyone!!! Hope your lives aren’t as miserable as you are.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:50pm
  117. Then, you should know better. Your comments are ignorant. They didn’t force any agenda, they legally got married.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 11:00pm
  118. What an idiot. Haven’t served a day but is full of opinion. This is this shit we fight for when we fight for freedom.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 11:52pm
  119. The times…they are a changin’ darlin’..

    Posted on Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 12:12am