The perfect setting - A Gay Marine proposes to his boyfriend at the White House
 

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posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 51

The perfect setting - A Gay Marine proposes to his boyfriend at the White House
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Matthew Phelps, a 35-year-old active duty captain in the U.S. Marine Corps., made history December 15 at the White House.

Capt. Phelps proposed marriage to his boyfriend, Ben Schock, 26, in the Grand Foyer of the executive mansion at the end of a holiday tour, in what is believed to be the first time two Gay men have gotten engaged in the building.

It is also a first for an active-duty member of the U.S. military, regardless of sexual orientation. A Transgender man proposed to his partner in the East Room earlier this year.

A HAPPY COINCIDENCE
'Our first date was to the White House, so I wanted to propose to him there,' Phelps told ABC News. 'When I got invited to the holiday tour, six months to the day that we had been there on our first date, it was way too much of a coincidence to pass up.' According to Phelps, the moment came as a surprise to Schock.

Images captured on camera by fellow tour-goers have since gone viral.

Phelps said his public proposal was well-received among his Marine Corps peers. But he noted that there could be a rocky road ahead for their relationship after the nuptials, planned for next spring.

'The one thing that is overshadowing things,' he said, 'is the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act is still in effect and the DoD [Defense Department] isn't going to recognize our marriage.

'I'm expecting to get orders to Japan next summer, but as of right now, because they're not going to recognize Ben as my spouse, they're not going to pay for him to accompany me; he's not going to have any health care coverage; and he's not going to have access to the base while I'm gone,' Phelps added.

'I'd have to get permission to live out in town as a 'single officer,' so we'll have to figure that out.'

The Supreme Court in 2013 will review the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal purposes as between one man and one woman.



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