by Jason St. Amand
Web Producer / Staff Writer
Tuesday Feb 28, 2012
Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells share a passionate kiss after Morgan returned to Hawaii after four tours of duty.
A Facebook photo of a Marine and his partner embracing each other has gone viral and has made headlines across the country.
Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan returned from Afghanistan to Hawaii last week and when he saw his partner Dalan Wells he jumped into his arms and kissed him. A friend, David Lewis, photographed the tender moment, according to the Miami Herald.
“With all that was going on, we didn’t even know he was there taking pictures,” said Morgan. “The world went away for a few minutes.”
After the reunion, Morgan posted the photos to his personal Facebook account and a friend shared the pictures on the Gay Marines Facebook page. Facebookers became enamored with the photo and it has been shared several times across the social networking website. As of Tuesday, the photo has more than 37,000 “likes” and nearly 9,000 comments.
“I can only imagine that it went viral because we were the first men to kiss,” said Morgan.
Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells
“To everyone who has responded in a positive way, my partner and I want to say thank you,” Morgan wrote on his Facebook. “Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after three deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.”
Although most of the responses to the pictures have been supportive, there has been some backlash from anti-gay individuals.
The Herald points out that a Facebook friend of the couple sent a message to Morgan’s mother that said, “What did you do to mess up as a mother to make him do this?” Additionally, when the story was reported on the right-wing conservative website Free Republic, several commenters left hateful and anti-gay remarks about Morgan and Wells.
Last December, videos and photos of a lesbian Navy couple’s kiss also garnered media attention. Petty Officer Second Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer Third Class Citlalic Snell were the first women to share a “first kiss.”
The two women locked lips on the dock after the USS Oak Hill returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia. Their kiss also received its share of support and criticism.
The military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers was officially repealed last September. One of ’don’t ask, don’t tell’’s major supporters is Elaine Donnelly, who claimed it’s repeal would cause “gay rape” and that enlistment numbers would dramatically drop. World Net Daily reported that Donnelly is suing the U.S. Navy under the federal Freedom of Information Act. She claims that the military lied when it told congress that 70 percent of the nation’s military support the repeal of DADT.