A same-sex military marriage

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

In June of 2016, I wrote a commentary titled A same-sex relationship, in which I capitalized on a few of the challenges my better half, Emily, and I faced during our first few months together. Even today, we still face obstacles, but I know we will always face them together and be stronger for it.

When Emily returned safely from her deployment in October, I was nervous to see how we would behave after having been apart for so long. Enduring a half-year absence while counting down every hour, one day at a time can seem like an eternity. Much to my relief, our relationship has only grown stronger and has led us to our next step: marriage.

We decided to tie the knot on the 10-month anniversary of the day we began dating. The ceremony was held December 10, just outside the Justice of the Peace’s office. The room was small with a tiny bridal arch laced with flowers and leaves.

Emily wore a black dress, heels, and a big, beautiful grin on her face. My dress was white and I wore a pair of matching flats, which we joked would go perfectly with my personality.

The ceremony was short and we only brought a few guests, but it was beautiful in its simplicity and fit us well. We were completely ourselves, with our military friends and family surrounding us. As we exchanged rings and vows and took the next step in our lives together, we were confident it was the right one.

My supervisor and other Airmen in my office attended the ceremony, and Emily’s brother, currently serving in the Army, watched via video. Everyone in attendance was wonderfully supportive and encouraging. I found strength and resiliency in my military family and I couldn’t ask for a more accepting and amazing group of people to work with.

Struggling to gain the understanding of our families and balancing our professional lives has kept us busy during the first month of marriage. Despite it all, we continue to grow together both personally and professionally. Though we argue over the hairbrush, laugh at vine videos and she still pretends my cooking is edible, at our core, we are Airmen.

While it’s true that at the end of the day, we’re just a couple of fun-loving goofballs, our marriage is only one part of our lives and being in the military means we have to maintain work, fitness and deployment readiness every day.

Every Airmen may be different but we all wear the same uniform. When we put it on, we are all part of the same team. Each of us brings something valuable to the fight. In the modern military LGBT Airmen are co-workers, supervisors, leaders and instructors. They are independent thinkers, flexible and skills technicians, mentors and friends.

Whether it is a high operations tempo, deployments or personal struggles, Airmen rely on each other to be good wingmen to one another. This is true regardless of your gender, religion, the color of your skin or your orientation.

Trust in your Air Force family, and you will find yourself with more support than you expected. It’s a family that will stop at nothing to take care of you, if you embrace what it has to offer.