History was recorded on Wednesday at Virginia Beach as two female U.S. sailors became the first same-sex couple to share the customary dockside "first kiss" after the US lifted the ban on gays in the armed forces in September.
The U.S. Army's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy had barred openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
"It's nice to be able to be myself. It's been a long time coming," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta whom the BBC said won the right to be the first person to kiss her partner on shore in a raffle.
MSNBC confirmed that 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.
The BBC reports that Gaeta's partner, PO Snell, said she had told her of the kiss a few days ago and had "freaked out - in a good way".
"I'm a little nervous, you know. But I've been waiting since she left," she was quoted as saying.
Playing it down
Navy spokeswoman Ensign Sylvia Landis tried to play down the media buzz generated by the lesbian kiss.
"It's just news to some people because for them (gays and lesbians), they don't have to hide it anymore, I guess. It's just a first; that's why it's significant to some people," Landis said, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Navy lesbian couple, ages 22 and 23 respectively, are fire controlmen in the Navy who have been dating for two years. They met at training school, reports MSNBC.