UPDATED November 2013: Since Kenton & Johnny shared their story with Freedom to Marry, same-sex couples in Hawaii won the freedom to marry when the Hawaii Legislature ruled in favor of marriage in November 2013.
On July 6, 2012, Johnny Wandasan, a Resource Officer in the U.S. Army, joined with his partner Kenton in a civil union ceremony at the Hickam Air Force Base. It was the first civil union ceremony between a same-sex couple at the Hickam Officer's Club.
The American Military Partner Association profiled the couple in July. The piece reads:
The July 6th date holds a special meaning to Kenton and Johnny, as does the venue; Johnny received his commissioning from the 298th Regimental Training Institute's Officer Candidate School program at the Hickam Officer's Club, back in August 2000.
The repeal of DADT aided tremendously in transitioning from a life of secrecy to a life of openness and acceptance in the military. Kenton and Johnny recently attended a Farewell event for the Senior Enlisted Advisor from Johnny's previous unit and both were made to feel welcome. In fact, a Platoon Sergeant from Johnny's unit, along with other non-commissioned officers, volunteered to assist with the DJ and music entertainment during their wedding.
Kenton and Johnny currently reside in Honolulu, Hawaii, and are together raising a year-and-ten-month old American Pitbull, nicknamed "Haas". They often talk and dream about one day growing their family through adoption.
Same-sex couples have been permitted to join together in civil union in Hawaii since February 2011, when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill to legalize civil unions between same-sex couples into law, which grants same-sex couples many of the benefits and protections that marriage affords. But a civil union is not a marriage, and only the freedom to marry can provide same-sex couples the same protections that different-sex couples have access to.
That's why Hawaii United for Marriage and other supporters of the freedom to marry are urging the Hawaii legislature to pass a bill extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples across the state. Learn more about Hawaii United for Marriage HERE.
Couples like Johnny and Kenton should not have their relationships treated like second-class relationships. Freedom to Marry wants to live in a country where all families living in the United States receive the same protections and respect that different-sex couples receive.
Watch a video from Crane Media that takes us through the couple's wedding day, interjecting the wedding ceremony with scenes of Kenton and Johnny writing out invitations, sharing a cocktail, and getting dressed for the big day in front of their family members and friends.