Nation

2 women share 'first kiss’ at Navy port

BRIAN J. CLARK/THE VIRGINIAN PILOT VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
Petty Officer Second Class Marissa Gaeta (left) greeted her partner, Petty Officer Third Class Citlalic Snell, yesterday.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ rule yesterday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss’’ on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer Second Class Marissa Gaeta, 23, of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss with her partner, Petty Officer Third Class Citlalic Snell, 22, of Los Angeles.

“It’s nice to be able to be myself,’’ Gaeta said. Neither the Navy nor the couple tried to draw special attention to what was happening, and many onlookers waiting for their loved ones to come off the ship were busy talking among themselves.

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Snell smiled as she approached Gaeta and they briefly embraced as local television crews and photographers, who were unaware about what was going to happen until moments earlier, captured the scene.

Navy officials said it was the first time on record that a same-sex couple was chosen to kiss first. Sailors and their loved ones bought $1 raffle tickets for the opportunity. Gaeta said she bought $50 worth of tickets.