VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
Just four months ago this kiss could have caused both these military professionals their careers.
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) kissed her fiancee, Fire Controlman 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, following the ship’s return to homeport Dec. 21 after a three-month deployment in the Caribbean. Oak Hill supported Southern Partnership Station 2012, an annual deployment of U.S naval assets in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
On Dec. 22, 2010, President Obama signed into law legislation that set conditions for the repeal of Title 10, United States Code, Section 654, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Training was given to all active duty, selected reserve, and civilians who supervise military personnel using a tiered approach. Effective Sept. 20, 2011, United States Code, Section 654 was officially repealed, ending 18 years of confusing and often arbitrary dismissals of otherwise qualified, trained military personnel, just because they were suspected of being gay.
Since DADT was enacted in 1993 over 12,500 military personnel have been discharged.
DADT’s repeal was in part predicated on the finding in a report submitted to Congress in November 2010 from a Comprehensive Review Working Group which found that gay servicemembers had little to no effect on unit cohesion or military readiness. When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92 percent of active duty servicemembers stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.” When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70 percent of service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.