Gay and Lesbian Soldiers Bring Same-Sex Partners to Inaugural Ball

For the first time, gay and lesbian soldiers were able to attend the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball with their same-sex partners.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

January 23 2013 5:55 PM ET

 Navy Petty Officers Jen Johnston and April Baker, Tracey Hepner and her wife, Army Brigadier General Tammy Smith, and Air Force Lt. Josh Seefried.

For the first time in American history, openly gay and lesbian service members were allowed to attend the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball with their same-sex partners.

High-ranking LGBT military advocates were in attendance, including OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Allyson Robinson and her wife, Danyelle, and OutServe-SLDN's Sue Fulton, who made history earlier this year when and her wife, Penelope Dara Gnesin, became the first same-sex couple to marry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, reports Freedom to Marry.

Other service members whose advocacy was key to the 2011 repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," also attended, including the highest-ranking openly gay service member in the country, Army brigadier general Tammy Smith, along with her wife, Tracey Hepner; Navy petty officers Jen Johnston and April Baker; and Air Force lieutenant Josh Seefried, who began blogging under a pseudonym for OutServe about his experience as a gay airman serving under DADT.

The Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball was one of only two official inaugural balls held this year and was open to select members of the military.

Tags: military

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