Ben and I will be getting married in a few weeks and set up our Wedding Registry at MyRegistry.com. With our upcoming move to Okinawa, we don’t have much need for many things. We are, however, concerned about the cost of Ben moving to Okinawa with me, since the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits the military from recognizing Ben as my spouse. That means Ben’s airfare, moving expenses, lodging, and medical will be on us. The expense will run into the thousands of dollars. If you’d care to contribute to help us meet these costs until DOMA is repealed, please visit our registry and consider donating to our Okinawa Fund. We will donate anything beyond the actual costs to continuing the fight for LGBT equality.
When I’m transferred to Okinawa this summer, Ben will come along, but at our expense because the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits him from being listed officially as my spouse or dependent. We filmed this video a couple months ago for Freedom to Marry to talk about how DOMA affects us.
[Update: a version of this letter was published in the Marine Corps Times, 15 April 2013.]
Serving my country as a United States Marine has been and continues to be the greatest privilege and honor of my life. In just a few short months my commitment to defending our nation will take me to my next duty station in Okinawa, Japan. I have a lot to do between now and then, not the least of which is graduating from Expeditionary Warfare School at Marine Corps University, but no doubt my personal priority is getting married to the love of my life, Ben. Continue reading
Ben and I recently recorded a video about the challenges we will face as a military family under the Defense of Marriage Act. You can watch it here:
The video was released in conjunction with a report by Katie Miller, which you can read here.
Ben and I told our story as part of the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative and posted it on our wedding blog.
Anyone who knows me also knows that I’m self-confident. I’m intelligent, I’m honest (sometimes brutally), and I will sacrifice anything–short of my integrity–for people and causes who need my help. I am willing to learn, I challenge people, and I expect people to challenge me in return, because I know the result will be better and clearer understanding. These things make me who I am, and they make me a good Marine. In fact, they make me good at just about everything I do, and they are the same things that drive me to work harder, do more, and push those around me to do the same. Even equipped with this knowledge of myself, I struggle to maintain the level of strength it takes to meet the challenges I face on a daily basis as an openly gay Marine.
Such a wonderful night for us, and it’s received so much attention on Facebook (here and here), Reddit, imgur, BuzzFeed, Gawker, and Towleroad! Really, the only thing on my mind was making it a memorable and unforgettable night for Ben. Thank you all for the well wishes!!
I have been talking (ranting) a bit lately about my disdain for political candidates and their supporters who would reduce LGBT equality to a political issue that can be debated. After observing emotions beginning to run high, a friend posted a link to my Facebook wall to an article in the New York Times about emotions running high when discussing politics online. Here’s my response:
Someone recently suggested that there is no one to bail out America, so we need to cut government spending. This is false, there are people who can solve our economic woes: us. Our government ultimately exists to take care of us, and that costs money. Defense, education, health care, infrastructure. The price of everything has gone up and will continue to, yet we want to pay less and less for the services that keep us safe. We want better education, better health care, better roads, better environment, better disaster response, and then we vote for candidates who will promise us they can deliver those things while reducing what our share of the bill is. When will we realize this is impossible?
There are a few reasons why, at this point in my career, I’m looking to transfer overseas to Japan, despite the challenges it will present in terms of my family and relationship.
First, I have spent the better part of my ten years in the Marine Corps thus far in Southern California (minus school on the east coast and a deployment to Iraq in 2007-08), so the option to stay in Southern California is not open to me right now. The Marine Corps encourages moving around, partially to broaden the experience in officers, and partially because it isn’t fair to let only a few of us get all the great duty stations. In the Marine Corps, we have, essentially, three options when it comes to major geographical areas where we can be stationed: West Coast (Southern California), East Coast (North Carolina), and Okinawa, Japan (Note: There are other assignments in other places, but the vast majority of duty stations are in these three places). I have between little and no desire to spend any more time than required in North Carolina, so Japan is the next best option for me.