Just as the formal repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy took effect, Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner were married before a small group of family and friends.
The two men, who'd been together 11 years, decided to marry in Vermont in part because the state is in the Eastern time zone.
That way, they were able to recite their vows at the stroke of midnight - at the first possible moment after the ban ended.
"I think it was a beautiful ceremony. The emotions really hit me...but it's finally official," Ross said early Tuesday.
Hours before the change, the American military was also making final preparations for the historic policy shift. The Pentagon announced that it was already accepting applications from openly gay candidates, although officials said they would wait a day before reviewing them.