Airman and Partner United in Civil Union on NJ Military Base


An Air Force Airman wed his partner in a civil union on a New Jersey military base over the weekend, the AP reports:

Dozens of friends and family members attended Saturday afternoon’s ceremony for Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and Will Behrens. It was presided over by Kay Reeb, a Navy chaplain with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who also serves at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

“We are so honored to be a part of this historic moment to be one of the first gay couples allowed to unite in a civil union on a military base,” the couple said in a statement after the ceremony.

“We hope to be an inspiration to others in the LGBT community that struggle with the challenge of marriage equality. And that this issue is not just about the military, but the equal sacrifice and shared burdens of our loved ones who are civilians.”

OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT U.S. military personnel and one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world, released a statement on the ceremony:

“We congratulate Will and Erwynn on today’s joyful ceremony,” said Josh Seefried, Co-Director of OutServe. “Our best wishes go to the entire Umali-Behrens family – as well as our gratitude for their courage in sharing this extraordinary event with all of us.

In addition, we want to recognize the tremendous support of the Joint Base MDL family, especially our chaplains. Not just the chaplain who presided over the ceremony, but all of the Joint Base chaplains exemplify the highest ideals of the military chaplaincy, serving their airman, soldiers, and sailors with caring, compassion, and commitment. Their dedication to service made this historic event possible.”

(photo jeff sheng)