The Royal Canadian Navy made history on Wednesday when a male same-sex couple shared the ceremonial homecoming kiss for the very first time.
Master Seaman Francis Legare was received by his partner, Corey Vautour, after an eight-month deployment at sea in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The honor of being the first sailor off of the returning ship is chosen at random through a raffle. Legare and Vautor are the first same-sex couple to follow the tradition in Canada, according to the CBC.
"I have been away for 255 days, so it feels great," Legare told CBC News. "I am speechless."
CBC News reports that Wednesday’s kiss demonstrated the Royal Navy’s embrace of gay and lesbian troops, as such a kiss might have been considered contentious in years past. But Legare and Vautor’s kiss was met with raucous applause from fellow sailors and spectators.
"We are reflective of society and we do recruit across all across society," Rear Admiral Gilles Couturier, commander of the Pacific Navy, told CBC News. "If we don't adapt, we won't have any sailors joining."
Just last year, a California couple made history by becoming the first male same-sex couple to kiss at a U.S. Navy ship’s homecoming. Back in 2011, shortly after the ban on open service by LGB Americans, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta shared what may have been the U.S. military’s first same-sex homecoming kiss with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell.
And while it wasn’t an official homecoming kiss, that same year, a photo of U.S. Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan leaping in the arms of his boyfriend, Dalan Wells, after returning from a tour of duty, went viral.
Watch the CBC’s report on Legare and Vautor’s kiss below: