(WASHINGTON) — A photo of a Marine kissing his boyfriend upon returning home from a tour of duty is going viral with more than 15,000 likes and 3,000 comments on Facebook. The photo, which shows Marine Brandon Morgan locked in a romantic embrace with his boyfriend, was initially posted on the Facebook page Gay Marines.
“You made my day! Thank you for your service and congratulations on your love. This is what we’ve been fighting for,” one commenter wrote.
“I am glad that you are safe at home and with the person you love. Thank you for your service to this great country of ours. Be happy and stay safe,” wrote another.
But not all responses were as supportive. One commenter called the photo “a damn shame,” and another posted simply “yuck.”
Brandon Morgan, upon finding out about his sudden Internet fame, released the following statement via his Facebook page:
“To everyone who has responded in a positive way, my partner and I want to say thank you….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 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt. As for the haters, let em hate….To quote Katt 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? In summation, thank you for your love and support. I received a lot of friend requests off this. I don’t just accept requests so if your request was because of this post, message me and let me know. Goodnight all, and Semper Fi.”
The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, which allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 22, 2010, and was fully implemented on Sept. 20, 2011. It overturned the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which had banned openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving in the military since Dec. 21, 1993.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andrea Cavallier and Samantha Tata, CNN
Susanna Capelouto, CNN