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
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
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.