An 85-year-old Korean War veteran who wasn’t aware that the Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage nationwide was married at his bedside recently to his longtime life partner, 53-year-old Takashi Nakaya.
The Pride LA reports “the entire staff of the West L.A. VA Hospital,” where Dale Green is being treated for Stage 4 Melanoma, “joined their ceremony and helped the couple celebrate their love” after hearing Takashi had traveled all the way from the couple’s home in Toyohashi, Japan to see him.
According to the paper, Dale traveled back to the U.S. from Japan every three months for years during the couple’s 31-year relationship because he lived there on a tourist visa, as they weren’t abel to be married under Japanese law.
Dale only recently returned to the United States permanently to receive treatment for his terminal cancer— treatments his body has since stopped responding to.
“After doctors told Dale that they were no longer able to continue treating him for his disease, Dale made a bold decision and ordered doctors to keep him alive at all costs so he could see Takashi,” The Pride LA’s Troy Masters reports. “After radiation therapy was terminated, Dale’s ability to speak and move his limbs returned within days, his appetite returned somewhat and his vital readings return to normal.”
The day Dale and Takashi were reunited, they were married legally on American soil.
“Mr. Robinson asked: ’Dale Robert Green, do you take this man, Takashi Nakaya, to be your lawfully wedded husband?’ Dale, fighting back tears, managed to say ’Yes, forever. Always.’ Robinson continued his questioning. ’Do you promise to hold him from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until you are parted by death.’ Dale, barely able to speak, gazing with an intense pride into Takashi’s eyes, said, ’I do. I do. I do. I love him. I do.’ Takashi’s answers were joyful and tearful and full of love, ’I love this man with my whole self, my soul. I do. I do. Yes, I do.’
Takashi and Dale kissed repeatedly and told one another ’I love you.’ The expression on both of their faces was a mixture of bliss and astonishment. ’For people to be accepting of us is one thing,’ Takashi said with tears rolling down his face,’but to celebrate our love with us—total strangers—is something incredible.'”
It’s unlikely Dale will ever be able to return to Japan, but according to Masters, readers touched by the couple’s story have offered to help.
“One person offered to procure a private jet to fly Dale home if he was able to,” he wrote. “Another offered them a home in Los Angeles. The VA Hospital offered Dale their ’Wish’ program and Takashi a place to stay nearby.”
“All I can say is WOW!” Takashi said in response to the outpouring of support. “There are still good people in this world. We are more than blessed and so very touched.”