A time-honored Navy tradition in Canada just got a 21st century upgrade. After more than eight months at sea, Canada's HMC Winnipeg returned to Victoria, British Columbia, on Tuesday to a celebratory crowd. But the icing on the cake was the Canadian sailor's homecoming kiss with his same-sex partner that drew cheers and hoots from the crowd.
After the long tour in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific, a coin toss by the crew determined who would be the first to go ashore. Master Seaman Francis Legare won, and his homecoming kiss with his partner, Corey Vautour, marked the first time two men participated in the ceremonial kiss.
"I have been away for 255 days, so it feels great," Legare told CBC News. "I am speechless."
The navy, too, gave the couple its blessing. "We are reflective of society and we do recruit across all across society," Rear Admiral Gilles Couturier, commander of the Pacific Navy, told the local media outlet in a clear show of support. "If we don't adapt, we won't have any sailors joining."
Canada has been in the international news of late for its social progress. The election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister last year saw the young leader pick a stunningly diverse cabinet that reflected the country's diversity. When asked why he chose the cabinet members he did, he simply said, "Because it's 2016."
The response to this historic kiss is further proof that Canada's embrace of progressive values is something many countries could do well to follow.