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Gay US Marine famous for kissing partner at homecoming just wanted to show love
HONOLULU (AP) ' Sgt. Brandon Morgan didn't expect to become a global phenomenon when he kissed his partner upon returning from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.
But then a friend posted a photo of their embrace on the Gay Marines page on Facebook. Morgan, in desert camouflage, is seen wrapping his legs around Dalan Wells' legs. A large U.S. flag is in the background.
Photos of exuberant servicemen and homecomings aren't new. But this one, taken some five months after the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting gay servicemen from openly acknowledging their sexuality, is among the first showing a gay active-duty serviceman in uniform kissing his partner after coming home.
More than 40,000 people have clicked the "like" button for the photo, and thousands have shared it with their friends. Supporters from as far away as Italy are flooding his inbox with messages of thanks and encouragement.
The 25-year-old said it was "a great moment in history" but he really just wanted to show his love to Wells when he landed in Hawaii on Feb. 22.
"I'm so honored to be part of something that people have fought so hard for in Congress, the White House and the military. But when it comes down to it, we didn't intend for this go to worldwide. We were just happy to be together," Morgan said Thursday in a telephone interview.
Two female Navy sailors shared the first same-sex military homecoming kiss in December when one returned home after 80 days at sea.
Morgan said he looks forward to the day when such greetings are so commonplace they don't make news.
"We all know this will die down and become the norm. It is the norm ' everyone is allowed, no matter who you are, to have a homecoming now," he said.