It’s only been less than 14 months since the US military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy officially ended.
But a symbol of how fast things have changed came over the weekend at The White House when US Marine Corps Captain Matthew Phelps proposed to his partner Ben Schock.
‘Such a special night surrounded by wonderful people in an amazing place, and the best is still yet to come,’ Phelps wrote on his Facebook page Monday (17 December) after photos of the proposal went viral. ‘Thanks for all the wonderful greetings and messages, and thanks to Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for lending us your home for the occasion!’
The American Military Partner Association posted a photo of the proposal on its Facebook page which is how it began to circulate.
In a follow-up post Phelps wrote: "Ben and I are blown away by the amazing love and support we have received. Thank you all so much for sharing in our joy and our lives.’
Phelps is no stranger to media coverage but before the end of DADT, he did most of it in secret appearing on radio shows and in magazine articles to discuss the policy only using his first name.
A year ago, Phelps wrote on his blog, A Work in Progress, about what the end of DADT meant to him: ‘For me, it was the day I got my dignity back. I wouldn’t have to stand there and listen when confronted with ignorance, I didn’t have to endure another conversation in which I was told that gays didn’t belong in the Marine Corps, that they shouldn’t be allowed to share the same barracks or serve in combat, that they shouldn’t be allowed to marry, or that their parents had failed and that’s how they came to be gay in the first place. I didn’t have to pretend I was single if I wasn’t.’