‘Jason Stewart has become the first member of Canada’s military to marry a same-sex partner, exchanging vows this weekend with his fiancé Joey Schwehr. The couple eloped Friday when Stewart arrived at Schwehr’s Kingston, Ontario home in a white stretch limousine. Stewart is an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military College. “The first time we went on a date, (Joey) said he wanted to be picked up in a white stretch limo with white roses in the back and be surprised,” Stewart told the Toronto Star from the hotel where they were staying.
Canada, like most western countries, accepts gays in the military. “Everyone’s always been really supportive,” said Stewart of his peers and teachers at the college, Canada’s officer candidacy school. “I’ve never gotten any flack about it,” told the Star. “Everybody’s just gung-ho and most of my superiors are more worried about me getting married at a young age than who I’m getting married to.” Stewart is 19 and Schwehr is 20.’
And, from the same article, here’s what Jason and Joey would have faced south of the border:
‘But in the United States, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has issued a warning to lesbians and gays in that country’s military to stay clear of marriage and even civil unions and domestic partner registries. “Members of the armed forces still face discharge and other punishments if they attempt to marry or enter into a civil union,” the SLDN said in a directive. “Any attempt by a member of the armed forces to marry, or enter into a civil union with, someone of the same gender can be used as grounds for discharge under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and potentially effect discharge characterization,” said Sharra E. Greer, SLDN’s Director of Law and Policy. “Military personnel should never answer questions regarding their sexual orientation without the advice of an attorney,” Greer cautioned. “Service members have the right to say nothing, sign nothing, and get legal help.”’
Yes, America. Land of the free, home of the brave. My country …