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Kathryn Hamm

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It All Starts With A Kiss

Posted: 01/09/12 02:49 AM ET

In some ways, it seems like a really small thing. It was just a kiss. A G-rated kiss. The kind of kiss that most folks wouldn't pay much attention to if they walked past the embrace on a city block.

But this was no ordinary kiss.

For the first time in US military history, a lesbian couple received the chance to share the traditional first kiss upon a Navy ship's return to shore.

After 80 days at sea, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, California disembarked from her ship and planted one on the lips of her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles.

Wow.

Just about any American can summon the image Alfred Eisenstaedt captured of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square to celebrate war's end in 1945. It's iconic, and understanding the prevalence of that image in our collective psyche helps one to understand why the kiss between Gaeta and Snell is no small thing.

Go Navy! Beat homophobia!

President Obama's work to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, to support the extension of federal benefits to same-sex domestic partners, and his refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has done so much more than his "I'm-evolving-on-same-sex-marriage" position would lead you to believe. His support of same-sex couples through policy has paved the way for this historic kiss. And I expect that more will soon follow.

What was once a simple protest technique used by the queer community -- grab your girl or your guy and offer up a big, collective show of gay kisses in public to make your point -- now stands the chance of being remembered instead as one iconic, heartfelt, and emotional Kiss that now belongs to gay and lesbian couples, too.

I don't know about other wedding planners out there, but I'm ready to learn more about military wedding custom and dress because openly gay military weddings will be the next new niche trend.

I, for one, am thrilled that all couples -- regardless of sexual orientation -- can now enjoy not only the dignity of serving their country so openly, but also the dignity of loving and serving each other -- openly -- until death do them part.

 

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