Navy Lt. Gary Ross, like every other gay and lesbian service member, was free to disclose his sexuality as of midnight—and he did it in style. The 33-year-old lieutenant and his partner of 11 years traveled from their home in Arizona to Vermont so they could marry as the clock struck 12 and "Don't Ask Don't Tell" became history, AP reports. "This is Gary's official coming out," said the justice of the peace, who proclaimed the marriage at midnight.
The end of the policy will make his life—and his work—easier, says Ross. The old policy "required you to lie several times a day," he explained. "Being in the military is extremely invasive. It becomes a web of excuses you make when you try to be as honest as possible but you can't be honest," he added. "If you're standing watch at midnight on a surface ship there's not much to talk about. It becomes very difficult to trust someone you can't be honest with." (Read more gays in the military stories.)