Since the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last September there have been a series of signs that the public manifestations of gay and lesbian relationships really are accepted in the military.
Last December, in what was dubbed the ‘Kiss heard ’round the world‘, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta shared a kiss with partner Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell as Gaeta’s ship returned to base at Virginia Beach.
Gaeta won the honor of the navy’s traditional “first kiss” as part of a charity raffle.
The photo drew comparisons with the iconic photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt of nurse Edith Shain being kissed by an unknown sailor in Times Square at the end of World War II. It was celebrated as a demonstration of the success of the repeal of a policy which only a few months before would have seen the lesbian sailors investigated and kicked out.
Then, in February, another photo, this one of a gay Marine locked in a passionate welcome home kiss at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with his boyfriend, also went viral.
“As a gay veteran that pic drew tears to my eyes,” one commenter wrote on the Facebook page of Sgt. Brandon Morgan. “Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think I would see this is my lifetime.”
Now the first gay couple has gotten publicly engaged on a military installation. It happened last week when Cory Huston proposed to Avarice Guerrero at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.
Guerrero had just returned from a ten month deployment to Afghanistan and San Diego LGBT Weekly was there when Huston, a Navy veteran who was discharged because his sexuality was uncovered, waited for boyfriend Guerrero’s return, kissed him, then got down on bended knee to ask Guerrero to marry him (Guerrero accepted).
As congratulations flooded in as pictures of the proposal circulated, Huston commented: “Thank you for all your comments and we will stay true to ourselves. We are completely honest and open about everything.”
Last year, Guerrero made a video before his deployment to Afghanistan (released on the day Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell formally ended) about what it means to be bold, proud and yourself in the Marine Corps:
Huston says they haven’t made marriage plans yet but will probably travel to New York or Vermont, depending on Guerrero’s redeployment. The newly engaged couple shared more in this interview with CNN:
Image of Huston and Guerrero from public Facebook page