Sailor aboard USS New Mexico proposes to his boyfriend as boat returns from first deployment

Officials: About 18,000 same-sex military couples

GROTON, Conn. - A sailor on the USS New Mexico proposed to his boyfriend in front of about 200 people who gathered at the Navy's submarine base in Connecticut to welcome the boat home from its first deployment.
Dylan Kirchner tells the Day of New London that he didn't care that everybody was watching when Machinist's Mate Jerrel Revels dropped to one knee and popped the question in Groton. He says it felt as though it was just the two of them. They have not set a wedding date.
Defense officials estimate 18,000 same-sex couples are in the active-duty military, National Guard and Reserves. It's unclear how many are married.
The repeal of the ban on openly gay military service took effect in 2011. Gay marriage has been legal in Connecticut since 2008.

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