Same-Sex Couple Re-Enacts Historic WWII Photo, Hits Back At Critics
When sailor Bryan Woodington returned home, all he wanted to was to see his husband.
Woodington, 33, had spent seven months at sea aboard the USS The Sullivans, when he returned home on December 21.
The U.S. Navy sailor won the lucky draw to have the ceremonial first kiss with is partner -- a long-held tradition in the U.S. Navy. -- upon arrival at Naval Station Mayport in Florida.
Waiting for him was his husband Kenneth, dressed all in white for one reason.
They wanted to recreate the iconic WWII kiss of a sailor kissing a nurse.
“When I saw Bryan, I lost all control and ran over to him,” Kenneth told Yahoo 7.
“Bryan suggested that I wear all-white because he wanted to redo that famous photo, but he didn’t know we won the lottery until the day he came home."
But not everyone was as excited about the kiss.
After local broadcaster News 4 Jax interviewed the couple, they were "bombarded" with hateful messages from enraged viewers.
“How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast."
"I’ll never watch your news again!!!! So long, News4Jax."
“I thought this was a ‘family friendly’ news channel.”
But the couple isn't dwelling on the negative messages.
“There are people who see the beauty in it,” Kenneth said.
“As for those who don’t, have a nice day.”
They've also received plenty of support from strangers, with comments left on the photo posted on Naval Station Mayport's Facebook page.
"Duty, honor, country. Love whomever you want. Semper fi."
"Times have changed when a Gay sailor can welcome home his partner without fear. Welcome home. Life is short love whoever you want to love."
"Wish my man would kiss me like this!! Just saying..."
A spokesperson for the U.S. navy told News 4 Jax the Navy was "gender neutral" there was "not an issue" with the same-sex kiss.
In 2010, the U.S. repealed its 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, allowing LGTBQ people to serve openly.