It’s wonderful when two people who love each other come together in marriage. It’s even more wonderful when it’s two people who didn’t have that privilege just a short while back.
Spc. Shane Adriano and Pfc. Tristian Resz are one such couple who got married last week in Springfield, Missouri. The ceremony was super low-key and intimate — just them and a few friends in the judge’s chambers of the Greene County Courthouse — but a beautiful photo of their post-ceremony kiss was taken.
Then the American Military Partner Association, the organization that rallies behind LGBT military personnel and veterans, got a hold of said photo and posted it on its Facebook page. What happened next was perhaps the greatest wedding gift for which the couple could have asked. Over 7,000 people supported their union by liking it. Another 1,886 people shared the love on their own pages. And hundreds more left personal messages filled with joy and appreciation. Here are just a few of the well wishes:
- Jacob Rundle: “Nothing but happiness to you both! Any negative comments reflect others insecurities, hatred towards themselves and ignorance. Stay strong you two!”
- John Simmons: “What a beautiful and sweet picture! I would never have believed this would happen in my lifetime and it so warms my hear to see and hear about ‘our’ weddings!”
- William Lee Sillyman: “I salute both of you for your service to our country. I applaud you for marrying the love of your life. I am a newly wed myself. Congrats you guys. Love if Love, not matter what. ?”
Many were also from fellow military personnel and veterans who had firsthand experience with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — our country’s 18-year ban on openly gay military servicemen and servicewomen. Fortunately that policy was officially lifted by President Obama back in September 2011, and now that it’s legal for anyone in the gay community in America to marry, more and more military personnel are taking their vows. It’s unbelievable how important just a piece of paper can be when you’re denied it for so long.
Adriano and Resz only just met last fall, but Adriano said it was love at first sight. He proposed to Resz after only a few months of dating, and so far it looks like they’ve got everything going for them, including an ocean of support from relative strangers.
The couple is overwhelmed by how many people have responded and are still responding to the photo. Hopefully this is the beginning of a major upswing in LGBT marriages between military personnel.