It continues to be the photo seen around the world: a U.S. Marine caught in a passionate lip-lock with his boyfriend during a homecoming.
But Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan, who returned Feb. 22 from Afghanistan to Hawaii, now insists neither he nor his partner of four years, Dalan Wells, anticipated a snapshot of their romantic reunion would go on to become a global phenomenon on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. In fact, the 25-year-old Morgan, who grew up in California, tells the Miami Herald that he wasn't even aware that David Lewis, a friend, was snapping the photos.
"With all that was going on, we didn’t even know he was there taking pictures," Morgan is quoted as saying. "The world went away for a few minutes."
Nonetheless, the couple seems conscious of the dramatic photo's significance in a post-"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era. "Love is love," Morgan told Hawaii-based news network KHON. "We haven't fought for more rights or better rights than others. We fought for equal rights. And now we have them." Added Wells, 38: "Maybe it'll give [kids who view the photo] the courage to hang on."
Feeling inspired? Take a look at some of our favorite same-sex kisses over the years: