On Friday the Pentagon released a video of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recognizing June as Gay Pride Month, a reminder of the progress the military has made since repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the now defunct policy which for 18 years barred open gay military service.

Other reminders have also made headlines, including the military's first historic gay kiss. It happened last December when Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, California purchased 50 $1 tickets for the “first” raffle to win the privilege of being the first to exit the returning USS Oak Hill as it docked in Virginia Beach after 80 days at sea.

Gaeta and her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles, shared the coveted “first kiss” on the pier as a crowd cheered and waved flags around them.

President Barack Obama promoted a photo of the women's kiss in a blog post.

Other gay kisses followed. A homecoming kiss shared on the tarmac between Marine Brandon Morgan and his boyfriend Dalan Wells created the most controversy.

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, a group opposed to gay troops serving in the military, suggested that military officials coerced opponents not to criticize the couple.

“Not one of those people, Marines or their families, was in a position to state freely what they felt,” Donnelly told WorldNetDaily.com. She added that the photo of Morgan leaping into Wells' arms for the kiss made the military look “ridiculous.”

But Morgan said he hoped the photo would help young people struggling with their sexuality.

“[I]f this saves one kid who says, you know, 'Look at this guy. He went and joined the Marine Corp. His life is great.' Then, maybe, that will give them the courage to hang on, and make it another day,” he said.

In April, Marine Avarice Guerrero was greeted as he returned home from a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan with a hug and a marriage proposal from his boyfriend Cory Huston. It is believed to be the first proposal to take place on a military base between two members of the same sex.