For the first time in its 169-year history, the United States Naval Academy has rung wedding bells for a same-sex couple.
David Bucher, a 49-year-old graduate of the academy, married longtime partner Bruce Moats Saturday in the Annapolis, Md., military school’s chapel, reports NBC News.
The couple, wearing matching blue suits, yellow ties, and boutonnières, recognized the momentous nature of their ceremony, which included Bible readings and a recitation of the U.S. Navy Hymn.
“We’re here to break barriers and take advantage of the rights we have,” said Moats, a director of communications at the World Bank.
Though same-sex marriage was legalized in Maryland last year, "not everyone agrees that this should be happening," said Lt. John Connolly, the officiant of the ceremony.
“Not everyone agrees that this should be happening, and it took a significant amount of discernment on my own part as well as this couple’s as they were preparing for the day,” Connolly said, adding, "The more I met with this couple, the happier I was to be presiding today."
The ceremony was particularly significant for Bucher, who said his sexual orientation factored into his unwilling departure from the Navy in the early ’90s.
“As a gay man in the military, the military didn’t want me,” said Bucher, who now works for the Pentagon. “There was some aspect of my personal being that made me less qualified, they thought, so that was why I exited the Navy. There was a certain level of rejection there.”
But after being married at his alma mater to the man he loves, with their two children in attendance, Bucher said he felt vindicated.
“To me,” he said, “that is a triumph.”