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In first, lesbian couple get first kiss at Navy homecoming


By Corinne Reilly

The Virginian-Pilot

© December 21, 2011






It’s a time-honored tradition at Navy homecomings – one lucky sailor is chosen to be first off the ship for the long-awaited kiss with a loved one.


Today, for the first time, the happily reunited couple was gay.


The dock landing ship Oak Hill has been gone for nearly three months, training with military allies in Central America.


As the homecoming drew near, the crew and ship’s family readiness group sold $1 raffle tickets for the first kiss. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta bought 50 - which is actually fewer than many people buy, she said, so she was surprised Monday to find out she'd won.


Her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, was waiting when she crossed the brow.


They kissed. The crowd cheered. And with that, another vestige of the policy that forced gays to serve in secrecy vanished.


The women, ages 22 and 23, are fire controlmen in the Navy and met at training school. Navy officials said it was the first time on record that a same-sex couple was chosen to kiss first upon a ship's return. The Navy said the money from the first-kiss raffle would be used to host a Christmas party for the children of sailors.


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