Facebook photo of Brandon Morgan and boyfriend touches hearts in post DADT world
In less than 48 hours, more than 18,000 people found and clicked 'Like' on a photo of US Marine Brandon Morgan arriving home from a tour of duty and leaping into the arms of his strapping boyfriend, Dalan Wells.
The photo is featured on a Facebook page titled Gay Marines and is quickly becoming a symbol of the post-Don't Ask, Don't Tell era in the US military.
'To everyone who has responded in a positive way, my partner and I want to say thank you,' Morgan wrote on the page Sunday (26 February). 'We didn't do this to get famous, or something like that. We did this [because] after three deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.'
By Monday afternoon PST, nearly 4,000 comments had been posted about the photo and just over 3,500 people had shared it.
Most of the comments were very supportive of the couple and the public display of affection.
'Welcome home, Sgt. Morgan!' wrote Jena Marie DiPinto. 'Thank you for your service and sacrifice, for choosing a path of courage, dignity and heroism, both as a soldier and publicly loving your partner. And thank you to Mr. Wells for standing by your partner and making the family's sacrifice of anxiety, hope and patience while your loved one served for all of us. The world is a better place because of men like you.'
Kirk Barnhart wrote: 'About time. Thank you for your service, and I am proud that this picture has gone viral, its a sweet picture and we all can enjoy their love!'
But not everyone had such kind words.
Kenny Lewis wrote: 'Ewww you are a comumist this picture is a disgrace to Americans.'
Added Jessica McIntire: 'I think I want to vomit… Glad they are helping our country, but they are probably just doing it to get some ass! Be around all those men all the time… yuck.'
Morgan has responded to both the love and the hate conveyed in the thousands of Facebook comments.
'As for the haters, let em hate,' he wrote. 'To quote Kat Williams, everyone needs haters, so let them hate. We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform… it was a homecoming. If the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn't care, then why do you care what these random people have to say?'
He added: 'In summation, thank you for your love and support.'