For whatever reason, the homophobic bigots seem to have a bigger problem with public displays of male-on-male affection than they do with the occasional girl-on-girl smooch. So presumably even the homophobes were relatively unthreatened by this fun event: The first-ever traditional “first kiss” for a homecoming sailor in which both parties were of the same gender:
Oh hey, look: The fabric of the nation did not come apart just because we let two people who happen to be wired differently than the majority be who they are. Good.
More backstory, courtesy of reporter Corinne Reilly (Lesbian couple’s first kiss at homecoming a first for Navy, too):
It’s Wednesday morning around 10:30 when the Oak Hill finally comes into view, its steel-gray bow peeking out from behind a grove of green trees at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.
It’s been three months since the dock landing ship left home for Central America, and all of the usual fanfare is waiting to greet its crew: crowds of cheering families, toddlers dressed in sailor suits, and the lucky, excited woman who’s been chosen to take part in a time-honored Navy tradition, the first homecoming kiss.
In this case, that woman is 22-year-old Citlalic Snell. She’s a sailor herself, assigned to the destroyer Bainbridge, but today she’s in civilian clothes – jeans, boots and a stylish leather jacket. Watching pierside as the Oak Hill pulls into port, she absentmindedly twists the small diamond ring on her left hand.
A uniformed liaison who is with her explains how it’s going to work: Snell’s sailor will be among the first off the ship, and when it’s time, Snell will be escorted onto the pier for the kiss.
The liaison asks if she’s nervous.
“Sort of,” Snell admits.
As it starts to drizzle, the brow is finally lowered. A handful of top officers are first off the ship, and then comes a young woman in dress blues, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta.
Snell cracks a wide smile.
“That’s her,” she says.
When Gaeta spots her, she smiles, too. They embrace. With all eyes watching, they keep the kiss short, and the crowd cheers.