WASHINGTON — Captain Pete Bennett doesn’t remember the time he met his future husband. There wasn’t much worth remembering.
It was during his freshman year in 2003, sitting at a table with other West Point cadets, when Adam first spoke to him. Though most West Pointers enter the academy from high school like any other college freshmen, the two were former enlisted soldiers, giving them a bit of common ground.
Adam recalls it well. A former Arabic linguist, he asked Pete what his job had been. But instead of calling it a “job,” Adam deployed the in-the-know initials MOS, short for Military Occupational Specialty. It’s a basic term familiar to soldiers, but new and bewildering to the younger cadets. One of the 18-year-olds in the room asked Adam what it meant. But the move left Pete unimpressed.
“He rolled his eyes,” recalled Adam, “and he looked at me and said, ‘That’s what people who are in the Army say when they don’t know how to make conversation.’ And he stood up and left.”
“All right,” Adam remembers thinking, “well, this guy’s a dick.”
* * * * *
Captain Adam Harmon is now 31 and the intelligence officer for a military police battalion at Fort Riley, Kansas. Pete’s picture sits openly on his desk in the headquarters building. And, for the past two weeks, Adam has worn a wedding ring on his left hand.
They were married on Oct. 8, just 19 days after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Because of privacy laws, the Department of Defense has no data on how many gay and lesbian servicemembers have married since the Sept. 20 change. But Adam and Pete are surely among the first couples to test the limits of the Army’s acceptance under the new policy.
The pair are familiar with uncomfortable moments, mostly in the form of insults shouted from cars when they hold hands in the street. And when they attempted to register at a Macy’s in Columbus, Ga., where Pete was on temporary duty at Fort Benning, a clerk politely but adamantly changed their marriage to a “commitment” on the couple’s paperwork.
Macy’s apologized to Pete and Adam, and Pete doesn’t blame the employee, whom he thought was well-meaning. But still, he said, “almost on a daily to weekly basis we’re reminded how we’re still not quite viewed as equal by a good portion of the United States. And this was just a really good example of that.”
Throughout their time in service, they were also unequal by law. But according to Pete, now 27 and a supply officer with the 10th Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Drum, N.Y., the law has always lagged behind the treatment the pair has received from fellow soldiers.
“The military has been great,” said Pete. “Which is kind of crazy because usually the military is a microcosm of society, but I definitely think that in this case … the military is far ahead of where society is right now on this issue.”
Article Courtesy of The Huffington Post
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