The end of "don't ask, don't tell" was the ticket a full-time member of the Nebraska Army National Guard needed to go to Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Tuesday and marry his partner of nearly four years.
Eleven hours after the ban on openly gay members of the military was lifted, Gregory Smith exchanged wedding vows with John Burns in the company of family members and close friends in a state that recognizes gay marriage.
"Just wanted to inform you that I am very happy that DADT ended today," Burns said in an email. "Now, my partner can serve openly, and as a result of the end of DADT, we will be getting married."
If the ban on gay military service members had not been lifted, Burns said in a telephone interview following the ceremony, "we probably would not be married right now."
Instead, he said, "we probably would have waited until Greg got out of the military."
Smith, 48, is a readiness non-commissioned officer assigned to the National Guard base at Ashland.
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"After serving almost 17 years in two branches of the military, I am glad that DADT has finally been repealed," he said in an email. "This day marks another special day as I married my same-sex partner of four years."
Burns, who will be 40 next month, works in the rail car production unit at Kawasaki.
"We met almost four years ago and have been together about three and a half years," he said.
Although they originally planned to be married next spring, Burns said, Smith decided "he wanted to do it on the first day DADT was gone."
And, so they did.
Repeal of the 18-year-old sanction, which allowed gay men and women to serve in the military as long as they didn't openly express or acknowledge their sexual orientation, took effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.