Two female US Navy sailors made history on Wednesday as the first gay couple to share the coveted “first kiss” on the pier, after one returned from almost three months at sea.
The first kiss is a long-held Navy tradition, yet previously has always been shared by a male and a female. The smooch between Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell came three months after the repeal of the US military’s archaic “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.
The 23-year-old Gaeta had been at sea for 80 days before disembarking from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship, and Snell, 22, was waiting for her. Gaeta was dressed in her Navy dress uniform and Snell wore a black leather jacket with blue jeans. Spectators who watched screamed their appreciation and waved flags. Gaeta chatted to reporters after the kiss, saying:
“It’s something new, that’s for sure. It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming.”
The kiss was described as a “non-event” by commanding officer of the USS Oak Hill, David Bauer:
“It’s going to happen and the crew’s going to enjoy it. We’re going to move on and it won’t overshadow the great things that this crew has accomplished over the past three months.”
Both women are Navy fire controlmen – essentially, their job is to maintain and operate weapons systems on ships. The couple met as roommates at training school, and have now been dating for over two years.