Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerrel Revel, left, proposes to his boyfriend, Dylan Kirchner, Aug. 12 during the homecoming of the New Mexico at the submarine base in Groton, Conn., after the ship's inaugural six-month deployment. They have not set a wedding date. (Kristina Young / Navy via AP)
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GROTON, CONN. — A sailor on the New Mexico proposed to his boyfriend in front of about 200 people who gathered Monday at the Navyís submarine base to welcome the boat home from its first deployment.
Dylan Kirchner told the Day of New London he didnít care that everybody was watching when Machinistís Mate Jerrel Revels dropped to one knee and popped the question. He says it felt as though it was just the two of them. They have not set a wedding date.
Defense officials estimate there are 18,000 same-sex couples in the active-duty military, National Guard and Reserve. Itís unclear how many of them are married.
The repeal of the ban on openly gay military service took effect in September 2011. Gay marriage has been legal in Connecticut since 2008.