Two lesbians in the US have become the first gay couple to share the navy’s traditional dockside kiss, when an officer returns home from sea.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta was away for 80 days, and won a raffle on board to kiss her partner on shore before anyone else.
The public kiss was allowed after the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was revoked in September.
Gaeta, 23, was serving aboard the USS Oak Hill, which had been on a tour in Central America before it returned to the Virginia Beach docks.
Her girlfriend, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, 22, was waiting amid crowds at the dock.
Gaeta told local media in Virginia she had spent $50 on the ship’s traditional raffle, adding: “It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming.”
“I think that it’s something that is going to open a lot of doors, for not just our relationship, but all the other gay and lesbian relationships that are in the military now.”
The ban on gays serving openly in the military was officially removed in September, but was not declared unconstitutional, meaning it could be reinstated by a new president following next year’s elections.
Republican presidential candidacy hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have made differing statements on the subject.
Gingrich told the Military Culture Coalition he would favour an extensive review of the ban’s repeal, which he did not support.
Romney has said he does not plan to reverse the repeal, and that he opposed revoking the rule during a time of war.