A gay couple wed in a historic ceremony on Jan. 13 that marked the first same-sex wedding at West Point, according to the New York Times.
Capt. Daniel Hall, 30, and Capt. Vinny Franchino, 26, exchanged vows in their blue mess uniforms at the Cadet Chapel in front of a crowd of 150 family, friends and other military officers. The couple, who both serve as Apache helicopter pilots in El Paso, Texas, exited the chapel under an archway of sabers.
Hall and Franchino met in 2009 when Hall was a senior and Franchino was a freshman. Although they were initially attracted to each other, they were forced to stay silent due to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Through mutual friends at West Point, we had each learned the other was gay, and though we were attracted to one another, we couldn’t say or do anything about it,” Hall told the New York Times.
When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, they decided to openly pursue a relationship. Hall and Franchino went on their first date in 2012. However, homophobia was still rampant.
“That’s where some guy called us both faggots,” Franchino says.
The couple met another obstacle when Hall was deployed to South Korea. They agreed to date other people but eventually decided to get back together.
Although things haven’t been easy for the couple, Franchino says the freedom to be who they are is worth it.
“We’ve experienced everything from people feeling awkward around us to being called faggots while holding hands and walking down the street, stuff like that,” Franchino says. “But despite what we’ve been through, nothing was worse than having served during the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ years.”