I didn't know about this military tradition. I was too caught up in how unbelievably attractive the woman on the left is to really think about the historical significance of this.
Watch the Navy’s First Official Lesbian Kiss
When Gaeta spots her, she smiles, too. They embrace. With all eyes watching, they keep the kiss short, and the crowd cheers.
As the rest of the crew begins to file off the ship, Gaeta and Snell slip away for a few moments alone before speaking to a group of news reporters.
They say they're both a little embarrassed by all the attention, but they understand it.
"It's a big deal," Gaeta says. "It's been a long time coming."
They explain that they've been dating for a little over two years, about as long as they've been in the Navy. They met right after boot camp. They were roommates at their first training school, where they both became fire controlmen.
Until September, when the military's ban on openly gay service was lifted, they worked hard to keep their relationship secret. When Snell came home from her last deployment in August, kissing on the pier wasn't an option.
"This is the first time we can actually show who we are," she says.
Adds Gaeta, "It's nice to be able to be myself."
While she says she already considers Snell her wife, they're planning for a wedding down the road.
And how were they chosen for the first kiss?
As is usually the case, it was decided in a raffle. Gaeta bought 50 tickets at a dollar apiece. While she suspects her division might have bought a few more on her behalf, she says she knows of sailors who bought more than a hundred, so she was surprised to learn Monday that one of hers had been drawn as the winner.