Under a bright Southern California sky at Camp Pendleton’s Camp Del Mar near Oceanside, California, 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.
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.”