California: 95-year-old war veteran marries boyfriend of 20 years

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A 95-year-old World War II veteran has married his boyfriend of 20 years in California.

John Banvard, who served in the US military during the Second World War, married longtime partner Gerard Nadea, 68, who is himself a veteran of Vietnam.

The couple tied the knot in a ceremony last Thursday at the Chula Vista Veterans Home, where they have been living for the last three years.

FOX5 San Diego reports that the couple have been together for more than 20 years, and got married following a Supreme Court decision in June that effectively struck down Proposition 8 and reinstated same-sex marriage in California.

“We were waiting on the Supreme Court to make their decision,” Mr Banvard told the station.

He added: “This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

The couple wanted to be be surrounded by friends during their public declaration of love, and so decided to hold the ceremony at the Veterans Home that Mr Blanchard describes as “home.” It was the first same-sex ceremony to be conducted there.

“It’s been somewhat controversial,” facility director Neal Asper said, adding: “I told them, they have the right to get married here just like everybody else.”

The simple yet historic ceremony passed without incident.

The newlyweds hope that they can inspire other elderly couples to finally get married. When asked about the objections, Nadeau told ABC10: “Oh, that’s their problem, not mine, but you know what this will do; open the door for other people.”