As part of a longstanding tradition, U.S. Navy ships will – upon returning home – select a sailor to descend to the dock ahead of the others and share the first “homecoming” kiss with their significant other (and, one presumes, with new photographers looking to take “their version” of the famous V-Day photo.)

On December 21st of this year, said tradition once again became part of history as – for the first time ever – an “official” first-kiss was shared by a same-sex couple:

PHOTO: Brian Clark, The Virginian-Pilot

The lucky couple in question are Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell. Gaeta (in the hat) was the returnee, having purchased $50 worth of tickets in her ship’s (The USS Oak Hill) charity raffle where the honor was the prize.

Photo is credited to one Brian Clark of The Virginian-Pilot. I hope his contract let’s him retain some rights to it so he can get a cut of the royalties as this almost-certainly winds up in history books, newsreels and museum displays from now until the forseeable future.

26 thoughts on “History

  1. Anonymous says:

    Part of the problem of the widespread acceptance in the coming generation of gay rights is that events like these enter the “meh, who cares?” file, especially since nobody seemed to care at all about the last one of these photos taken.

    As a staunch member of the left, I can say I'm kind of burnt out on civil rights milestones because I've seen one of almost every kind and feel that there are much bigger issues to deal with, like the economy.


  2. Bobiojimbo says:

    Is it weird that I wasn't even looking at the girls and just trying to identify what type of ship that was (a cruiser, btw) just from that low angle shot? Congrats to those two for making history.


  3. Bobiojimbo says:

    @Wendy: Probably not much he could have done. That's a pretty a-typical looking pier. All those cables are shore-to-ship power lines, telecommunications, water, and sewage. I'm guessing the other side had another shipped moored, and the end was full of connex boxes and view of the ocean. The gate side of the pier of probably has small, prefab office buildings, large electrical boxes, and an ugly gate.

    So, with that knowledge (assumption), the photographer did a fine job.


  4. Anonymous says:

    decent pic, but really, not all photos must be taken at eye level. you've got 2 working knees, bend down some and frame it up so you can get the top decks in the background. I'm guessing there were a few hundred sailors up there in dress whites and they would have made a much more iconic background than a mooring cleat.


  5. Benfea says:

    @the anonymous poster who said he's burnt out on this stuff:

    You're a damned grinch, and it sounds like you have no appreciation for what GLBT people in the service have been going through the last few years. The yoke of oppression has been partially lifted in one tiny corner of the world, which this picture symbolizes, and your response is… indifference? Seriously?

    Will you feel the same indifference when the suicide rate among gay teenagers finally starts to drop? How about when the practice of female genital mutilation is finally wiped out around the world?



  6. Anonymous says:


    I certainly appreciate the plight of all people oppressed by… whoever. What if I were to tell you that I were a black man in the South? Would you say I knew nothing of oppression? Or an atheist? or a Mexican having laws passed that would deport me instantly just because I look brown?

    I've seen every kind of civil rights milestone imaginable, and it's really hard for me to care when I'm struggling to even find a job. The best I can muster is “good for them,” because Until my situation gets better, it's hard for me to care about the “history” of this event.

    I'm not interested in the Oppression Olympics. It's one of the tools meant to keep ethnic groups down, so that we are at each others throats over how fucked over we are by “The Man” instead of unifying. It even allows members from “The Man” (White European-descent) to enter with historical truths of being oppressed by Muslims in the Middle Ages.

    Also, I'm certainly concerned about gay teen suicides, but I think the hidden truth of that is that male suicides in general have been skyrocketing in the past decades. Possibly due to years of transferring wealth from the lower classes to the upper classes, creating an environment with no class mobility, and thus not much of a future. So they either become bullies or kill themselves, or simply violent in general. Gay suicides are simply an intersection of that.

    I'm much more concerned about gay suicides than photo-ops though. I'd rather the story be that we passed anti-bully legislation.

    (Also if it was two men, I doubt Bob would have posted it either, I'm sorry to say.)


  7. Anonymous says:

    things like this are/will became/become (I kind of live under a rock) less and less spectaclure soon enough when these milestones in history happen it would be like “Why didn't this happen before?”


  8. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    On the one hand, making a big deal about this is kind'a self defeating. A same sex couple sharing a kiss shouldn't something we're praising, it should be a completely inconsequential event that isn't worth paying attention to more than any other kiss. It's a “reverse homophobia” if ya know what I mean… it's patronizing to the GLBT community, and that doesn't help anyone.

    On the other hand, with the recent repeal of “Don't Ask Don't Tell” I can understand the desire to flaunt this around a bit.


  9. Benfea says:


    Yes. You're right. In an ideal world, this wouldn't be a big deal. Then again, in an ideal world, gay teenagers wouldn't be beaten mercilessly and left by the side of the road to die an agonizing death over the course of days. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world, we live in a Christian Nation(TM).


  10. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    @ Benfea

    I've had a very similar discussion with someone recently and we weren't able to find a clear answer so perhaps you could help me out… Is violence against homosexual teenagers actually statistically higher than teenagers in general? And, if so, by how large a margin?

    I'm not saying that violence against homosexuals doesn't happen… it obviously does. The question is whether or not it's demonstrable that they're treated worse than average.

    (Our discussion was actually about homosexual teen suicide rates and whether or not they were actually above average or not… I'm not convinced they are by any significant margin if at all.)


  11. CraftyAndy says:

    This is me being a cyinical son of a bitch. I'm thinking the media (fox) would be all over it in a bad way if it were a male couple and probably call for their discharge… than again they probably will anyways.
    And it's sad this is a historic milestoen for America when this wasn't an issue hundreds of years ago before the church took over.


  12. James says:


    “Is it weird that I wasn't even looking at the girls and just trying to identify what type of ship that was (a cruiser, btw) just from that low angle shot?”

    Sorry to interrupt here, but I'm a bit of a navy geek: Bob mentioned in his post that her ship is the USS OAK HILL. OAK HILL isn't a Cruiser, she's a Dock Landing Ship, which is a type of Amphibious Assault ship (i.e. a ship that carries and supports Marines and lands them ashore in a contested or hostile area).


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