Military veterans marry in historic wedding at Chula Vista VA home

Other veterans objected to same-sex union

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A historic wedding in the South Bay went on as scheduled despite opposition from some military veterans who even reached out to a controversial church to stop the ceremony.

It's not that often a wedding makes history, but that's exactly what happened with the first gay wedding at the Veteran's Home in Chula Vista.

"It was something we wanted to do for a long time," said 95-year-old John Banvard as he said "I do" to 68-year-old Jerry Nadeau in a brief ceremony.

"After 20 years, we decided we wanted to get married but we had to wait until the Supreme Court said it was OK," said Banvard.

Banvard, a World War II veteran met Nadeau, a Vietnam War veteran, more than 20 years ago.

The ceremony, however, wasn't without controversy.

A few veterans at the home objected and went as far as contacting the controversial Westboro Baptist Church.

"They used language I don't want to repeat," said Jim Karellas, a staff member at the home.

Westboro has been described as the most hateful church in America, with members protesting at military funerals, Jewish synagogues and more.

"I think some of the residents here called them in the hope that the ceremony would be moved off property," Karellas said.

No one from the church or other residents who objected showed up at the ceremony to protest.

As to those who objected, Nadeau said, "Oh, that's their problem not mine, but you know what this will do, open the door for other people."

Banvard and Nadeau moved into the facility about three and a half years ago.

"Some here at the home have asked me, 'What's your relationship with John?' Well, now they know," Nadeau said.

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