Political Animal


December 22, 2011 1:45 PM Homecoming tradition buries DADT

By Steve Benen

At some point in the future, a story like this will hopefully be so routine, it’ll hardly be worth noticing. For now, however, it’s a reminder of a civil-rights breakthrough.

A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the dock after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

Both women, ages 22 and 23 respectively, are fire controlmen in the Navy. They met at training school and have been dating for two years.

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. Sailors and their loved ones bought $1 raffle tickets for the opportunity. Gaeta said she bought $50 of tickets. The Navy said the money would be used to host a Christmas party for the children of sailors.

The Navy isn’t embarrassed by this — it posted the photo on the official Navy website.

The news comes one year to the day after President Obama put his signature on the bill that repealed DADT.

I know the historic gains may disappear if Republicans win next year, but for now, a picture like this is heartening.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Quaker in a Basement on December 22, 2011 1:48 PM:

    I had not heard that this is up on the Navy's site. That just triples the awesome.

  • Ahcuah on December 22, 2011 1:55 PM:

    I may be overly cynical, but I somehow doubt it would be there if that were two men kissing.

  • K in VA on December 22, 2011 1:57 PM:

    The second best part of DADT repeal is knowing how unhappy this pisture makes all the gay-bashing christianists and their GOP friends.

    Speaking of the latter, it behooves us all to remind everyone we know that most of the GOP candidates want to revive DADT and send these two sailors back into the shadows.

    Go, Navy! Go, Obama! Go, America!

  • wvng on December 22, 2011 1:57 PM:

    The next test, a bigger test in my opinion, will be to see if they will post a picture of two men kissing.

  • theAmericanist on December 22, 2011 2:01 PM:

    Do they both wear red shoes?

  • iyoumeweus on December 22, 2011 2:04 PM:

    I am almost not quite 74 y old and have been married for 48.5 years. This picture brought tears to my old eyes! Is not it great to live in a free country where you can safely be yourself. Where liberty and justice sometimes win. Where politicians can not tell us who we can love, hang with, and in some states marry. May the joy that they felt full all our hearts and minds and allow the scales to fall from our eyes. LOVE AND PEACE

  • DAY on December 22, 2011 2:07 PM:

    Old, White, Republicans: "OutRAGEous! Despicable! There oughta (still!) be a law!"

    Anybody under the age of 25: "ho-hum. . ."

  • Jerry Wechsler on December 22, 2011 2:09 PM:

    I wonder if the Navy would post a photo of two men kissing. These two women are ... photogenic, to say the least. Still ... it is heartening. The progress of the human race is excruciatingly slow, but ... we lurch forward every once in a while.

    Happy Holidays to all.

  • c u n d gulag on December 22, 2011 2:25 PM:

    What a sweet comment.

    My best to you and your wonderful spouse this Holiday Season!

    LOVE AND PEACE, indeed!

  • Anonymous on December 22, 2011 2:31 PM:

    The Navy isn't embarrassed by this, it posted the photo on the official Navy website.

    Duh. Lol. Now THAT is a great recruiting photo for young American men.
    "Join the Navy and sail around the world watching hot chicks making out on the decks of our ships."

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on December 22, 2011 2:32 PM:

    The two-men-kissing counterpoint aside (yes, interesting point it is), this really did give me the warm and fuzzies all over when I saw in it the newspaper this morning. I'll be home for Christmas...

    'Tis the season, folks. That photo would so make a good holiday card.
  • Crissa on December 22, 2011 2:36 PM:

    Making out on board is still not allowed, duh.

    It's just reality mimicking art:

    http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/watchmen/opening-title-sequence @1:08

  • K in VA on December 22, 2011 3:04 PM:

    Anonymous @ 2:31:

    Grow up.

  • AK Liberal on December 22, 2011 3:05 PM:

    I know the historic gains may disappear if Republicans win next year, but for now, a picture like this is heartening.

    I dunno. Something tells me they'll have a hard time stuffing that back into the closet.

  • Anonymous on December 22, 2011 3:05 PM:

    Making out on board is still not allowed, duh.

    War isn't like playing Mall video games either, but that doesn't stop Armed Forces recruiters from their deceptive advertising techniques.

  • Quaker in a Basement on December 22, 2011 3:12 PM:

    Jeezlouise, people! It's not a picture of two men because it's a picture of two women. Can't you folks enjoy the good news without looking for the bad?

  • Eeyore on December 22, 2011 3:53 PM:

    And when these two women kissed a straight marriage was destroyed. I sure hope it's Callista and Newt's.

  • wvng on December 22, 2011 4:18 PM:

  • RepublicanPointOfView on December 22, 2011 4:23 PM:

    How wrong can Obama be?

    It is quite obvious that the flag waving, cheering crowd is proof that Senator McCain was correct that repealing DADT would absolutely destroy the morale of the military and their families!

  • square1 on December 22, 2011 5:31 PM:

    Both women, ages 22 and 23 respectively, are fire controlmen in the Navy. They met at training school and have been dating for two years.

    Yes, it was love at first inadvertent hose-down.

    Did the Navy just hire Hugh Hefner as a recruiting consultant?

  • Mitch on December 22, 2011 6:08 PM:

    To those who make comments about it being two women, instead of two men: yes, you have a point. Woman-on-woman love has been relatively socially acceptable for a long time. Actually, I do not know any conservative male who would disapprove of it.

    However, as an offical Navy 1st Kiss, this is a HUGE deal. I'm a Navy brat, and totally understand the symbology behind the 1st kiss. So, sure, it would be a larger step for civil rights had it been two men. But always, ALWAYS, remember that it would not have happened AT ALL under a Republican President, or a GOP-dominated government. Baby steps are better than no steps at all.


  • Trollop on December 22, 2011 7:39 PM:

    Yea! It's a good thing, now I too want to see two hot male marines kissing in battle!!

    (/snark, sort of hot)

  • g on December 22, 2011 8:27 PM:

    I think it's beautiful!

  • Mnemosyne on December 22, 2011 8:40 PM:

    Petty Officer Gaeta won a raffle for the right to do the first "official kiss" off the ship, so it's a little more complicated than "oh, of course they let the cute lesbians kiss first."

    You guys did notice the "raffle" part that Steve posted and didn't just go straight to scoffing, right?

  • Crissa on December 22, 2011 8:55 PM:

    Why would it have been a bigger step had it been men? I realize that male homophobia is probably more entrenched, but... Why do lesbians have to take a back seat in equality?

  • Doug on December 22, 2011 10:31 PM:

    I saw quite a bit of this sort of thing when I was in the Navy 20 years ago.
    Of course, it was off-base. Nor were they in uniform. And they could have been kicked out of the Navy with a Dishonoble discharge for it.
    But other than that, what's the big deal...