The Navy tradition of choosing one sailor to be the first to kiss a loved one on the dock after a long voyage has been updated, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles, became the first gay couple to share the “first kiss” today, after Gaeta’s ship, the USS Oak Hill, docked in Virginia Beach, Va., The Associated Press reported.
The USS Oak Hill was returning after an 80-day training mission with military allies in Central America, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
The women met at training school and have been dating for two years, the AP reported.
Sailors buy raffle tickets to win the opportunity to be the first kisser, and Gaeta said she’d bought 50, less than many of her fellow sailors, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
According to the AP:
For the historical significance of the kiss, there was little to differentiate it from countless others when a Navy ship pulls into its home port following a deployment. Neither the Navy nor the couple tried to draw attention to what was happening and many onlookers waiting for their loved ones to come off the ship were busy talking among themselves.
On Sept. 20, the Pentagon ended its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which lifted the military’s ban on gay soldiers serving openly. Now the Defense Department is reviewing the possibility of extending eligibility for benefits to same-sex partners (and some troops have sued to hurry up the process).
More from GlobalPost: Defense of Marriage Act: Gay troops sue
"It's something new, that's for sure," Gaeta told the press after the kiss, the Virginian-Pilot reported. "It's nice to be able to be myself. It's been a long time coming."