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US army captains become the first active duty same-sex couple to marry

The couple couldn't be open about their feelings during the days of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

2018-01-22

Two US army captains have become the first same-sex couple on active duty to get married. 

Daniel Hall, 30, and Vincent Franchino, 26, married on January 13 in front of 150 family and friends, 34 of whom were military officers.

The two men, who are both Apache helicopter pilots, married in their blue US army uniforms at Skylands Manor in New Jersey, the New York Times reports. 

They met one another back in 2009 when Franchino was a freshman and Hall a senior. At the time, Franchino was taking part in an annual tradition that involves freshmen hiding and jumping out to scare seniors. 

He hid under Hall's bed and jumped out to scare him. The two then went their seperate ways but in January 2010, they selected each other for a mentorship programme that allowed seniors to mentor freshmen following similar career paths. 

By then, the pair had developed feelings for each other, but they were unable to be open about it due to the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy forbidding US servicemen from serving openly. 

Speaking to the New York Times, Hall said: "We were serving under a policy that was telling all of us - perfectly capable soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines - to lie about ourselves."

Franchino explained how lying was better than being honest during that time. 

He said: "We couldn't tell the truth for fear of what would happen to us. So we put it in our minds that we were never going to say we were gay, we were never going to get made fun of, and we were certainly never going to get kicked out of the army." 

When the policy was repealed by President Obama back in 2011, the couple went public with their relationship. And though they're happily married now, they faced challenges along the way. 

The couple recalled how they were called "faggots" while on dates, and how they temporarily called off their relationship when Hall was deployed to South Korea. They began dating other people, but eventually got back together.

At their wedding, the couple's first dance was to 'La Vie En Rose' by Edith Piaf and they cut their wedding cake with Captain Hall's officer caber, a graduation gift from his maternal grandparents.