Brian Fricke, a board member of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and his longtime boyfriend, Brad Catoe, were set to marry Friday in D.C.
Fricke, 28, and Catoe, 26, planned to wed in a civil ceremony at the D.C. courthouse. Catoe’s family and Fricke’s friends were expected to attend the ceremony.
Fricke, a veteran of the Iraq war and a sergeant in the Marine Corps before he left the service in 2005, said service members he worked with overseas planned to attend the wedding. His family opted not to attend.
Fricke, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., now works as a civilian information technology specialist for the U.S. Navy; Catoe, who hails from San Diego, Calif., is a patient care technician for the Washington Psychological Institute.
The wedding marks the seven-year anniversary of when the couple first started dating. Fricke said he and Catoe decided to wed because of the tradition of a couple affirming their love together through a public ceremony.
“It falls in line with the tradition of finding somebody that you love and committing to them, and then being able to display that, or show that through your vows,” Fricke said.
In his role at SLDN, Fricke has joined protests against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and served as a spokesperson on the issue. He’s also a member of the American Veterans for Equal Rights, an LGBT veteran organization. Catoe has also participated in pro-gay rallies, including a Capitol Hill protest this year urging passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The two plan to honeymoon on a cruise in the Caribbean.