UPDATE: Video and quotation have been added.
We have a late-breaking nomination for image of the year. This photograph would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta was able to win a raffle that gave her the first off-the-ship kiss, a Navy tradition, with her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell.
When the couple began dating, they had to hide their status under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The 17-year-old policy was repealed in September. On Wednesday, in front of Gaeta’s entire ship and a cheering crowd, the two women made history as the first same-sex couple to share the coveted kiss.
“It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming,” said Gaeta about life after the repeal. “It’s been pretty awesome to say the least.”
Watch video of their reunion after the jump.