EXCLUSIVE: Gay Marine says I do on base; a firstLatest Issue, This Week, Top Highlights Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Balloons, signs, tears, and joy may not be unusual sights on military bases when family and friends await their returning veteran’s safe return home from a long deployment, but a wedding proposal by a boyfriend to his Marine boyfriend is. That’s what happened Tuesday at Camp Pendleton, when San Diego resident, Cory Huston, himself a Navy veteran once assigned to the Marines as a hospital corpsman asked Marine Avarice Guerrero to marry him. It is believed to be the first proposal of marriage and engagement between two gay men – not to mention two war vets – on a US military base. In an exclusive, San Diego LGBT Weekly was there to photograph the historic proposal.
April 24, under a bright Southern California sky at Camp Pendleton’s Camp Del Mar near Oceanside, Calif., a full two hours before his boyfriend’s return from the badlands of Afghanistan, Cory Huston waited nervously. Huston, who was discharged under the former Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, chain smoked as he rehearsed the simple proposal he would deliver when Guerrero would arrive.
He told LGBT Weekly that by popping the question, and assuming Guerrero would say yes, he would not only be changing his and his beau’s lives forever, but also the landscape of marriage among gay servicemembers.
“This is a huge step for me,” Huston said while pacing and scanning the crowd of fellow friends and family members of returning Marines.
Finally, luggage in tow, Guerrero emerged with a smile on his face. Upon seeing Huston, Guerrero dropped his bags; aimed a kiss toward Huston’s lips; and opened his arms to his boyfriends waiting embrace. The time and distance of 10 months’ separation evaporated in a public show of affection that less than a year ago would have been cause for court martial. After a few minutes of emotional holding and kissing, Huston went anxiously down on one knee; looked up at Guerrero, who was dressed from head to toe in military fatigues; and produced an engagement ring and the time-honored phrase, “Will you marry me?”
Huston’s mild tremble, a result of hours and days of anticipation about this day, was quickly quieted by the one word every hopeful fiancé wants to hear: “Yes.”
“I was blown away,” Guerrero said, staring at the shining ring on his finger shortly after the proposal. “I was shocked that after all we’d been through, he would honestly want to spend the rest of his life with someone like me.”