1. Seattle Mike says

    Fairly clueless but well-intenioned reporter. She said that a year ago when DADT was still in effect, this kind of photo would have been “frowned upon.” Lady, this kind of photo would have gotten that guy kicked out of the Marines. Let’s not whitewash the past. That said, nice overall tone to the piece. And gotta love the official statement from the Marines – “This is just an ordinary homecoming photo.” Progress. Gotta love it. (And props to Obama for repealing DADT, as he promised.)

  2. DG says

    About the public display involved – the man has completed THREE deployments, all of which were endured by his worrying spouse at home. As the official response indicated, “This is just an ordinary homecoming photo” – which are the way they are because the emotional response is so over-whelming. There is no discretion necessary, nor any validity to recommending it.

  3. says

    “Discretion is the better part of valor” … yes let’s hide every display of public gay affection. NOT! My husband and I would drive you nuts. There are times I meet the guy for lunch and he is so freakin hot we can’t stop ourselves… (little joke there).

    These guys didn’t set this moment up to gain publicity, as the Military says, it is your typical homecoming. So nice to have them step forward and put a voice to their faces – masculine handsome regular gay guys. Sure to marry when HI allows same-sex marriage.

    Nice to see Hawaii. My husband graduated from UOH and lived in Hono for a decade prior to our meeting in SF. We go back every summer and visit friends and grandparents who live on the Big Island in a little town called Volcano since 1950. Pretty place to visit but still prefer SF.

  4. Ian says


    Please explain your comment…why should they have been more discrete? This man’s partner was in Afghanistan for 6 months. I don’t know if anyone in your family or friends has gone off for a tour of Afghanistan, but there is always something inside you wondering if they will come home alive. When they do…you MUST do what comes naturally and embrace them in whatever way you want.

  5. Daniel says

    By leaving ‘The’ off the front of the headline the gay couple remain a plural, therefore it should be ‘speak out’ rather than ‘speaks’.
    Studying English is a horrible affliction. It drives me batty and I can’t help it, sorry.

  6. says

    well, some people care more about What Bigots Think than about What The Man That Loves Them Thinks. But that’s because these people don’t actually have A Man That Loves Them. Even in hypotheticals they’re unable to fantasize about love or affection. eek.

    happy these two sweethearts are safe together 😀

  7. Michael in Toronto says

    That image just slays me.

    Something about the way his boots are dangling — speaks to me of the bravery of a masculine gay man and the sweet vulnerability and trust of a little boy.

    I love it, and hope it lives on like the famous WWII sailor/nurse photo.

  8. says


    “Discretion “……..
    I had to be discrete when being a homo was punishable by 14 years in prison;
    I had to be discrete when being gay was revealed to destroy my career;
    I had to be discrete when they were going to beat the living st1t out of me;

    If I was a soldier with such tours of duty behind me and had been victorious in overturning DADT and was meeting my BF at the airport……..would I not be entitled to a little equality of appreciation and esteem ?
    As these men have said so perfectly :
    “Love is love.”
    There’s nothing that needs to be discrete here.

  9. GraciesDaddy says

    Good on you, Brandon & Dalan, for creating another U.S. Icon!!

    For “Daniel”: The word “couple,” in this instance, singularity is implied [and there is not more than one couple], ergo “speaks” is correct.


  10. Rance says

    The battle has been won, but the war goes on in Congress and elsewhere. Most gay military people will tell you that they are under extreme observation and are expected to be beyond reproach in their action and words during this time. If one knows the real meaning of the phrase I used, they will realize it has nothing to do with “being discreet”.

  11. says

    I love everything about this photo. I love Brandon and Dalan, I love their embrace, I love the GIGANTIC American flag in the background. Yes! This picture will live on through the ages, as it should. A picture tells a thousand words, and this one is no exception.
    Brandon is right, “Love is love.”
    You can’t stop progress, haters. You just cannot. If it is one thing history has taught us, it’s that the haters always lose and the oppressed are always victorious.

  12. says

    Thanks for the posts guys. We are getting emails and interview requests from all over but the Towleroad coverage is what still awes me since I have been a daily reader for so long. The PDA complaints are still from people who do not realize what a “Homecoming Ceremony” is. All the couples in that hangar were jumping all over each other and hugging and kissing. We do not carry on like that when he is uniform. I just dropped him off on base and did not even give him a good bye kiss since he was in uniform. As far as me needing a new shirt, yes that is a little weird that I was wearing the same one! I do have more. We have been so busy with phone calls and emails. On top of Brandons mountain of homework for college and me trying to find us a car to get around in. The last thing on my mind has been what shirt am I wearing in what photos and interviews lol. The more masculine embrace comment was pretty dumb. I am sure my boyfriend could benchpress that guy.
    Allright thanks again everybody. This has been a weird public adventure but hopefully it will help someone someday.

  13. uffda says

    Bravo, bravo. Thanks Dalan and Brandon we love seeing your pictures, the video and these new comments. Now we own you like we want, you’re part of us. Best to car hunting and all the details of everyday life.

  14. jersey says

    Dalan, ignore the masculine embrace comments. Obviously they are made by self hating guys who never had a love to snuggle up next to. I thought the pic was spot on in showing true emotion and both of you having the courage to just be honest and in the moment is what is so striking and timeless about this photo. There is a reason this has hit us so hard and it’s because of the raw honesty of love.

  15. John NYC says

    @ Dalan Wells

    Wish you both all the best.Side note:Don’t mind the warped queens on towleroad,they have said more ruthless and outrageously rude nonsense,usually relating to racial groups and other gay/lesbian relating issues in other blog postings.Why the blog owner allows this nonsense to continue is beyond me.

  16. Gregv says

    I assumed the “masculine embrace” comment was made tongue-in-cheek, as I would if it had said, “too bad they’re not a handsome couple.”
    “Dolly Parton is pretty but she’s a little flat-chested for my taste.”. That sort of thing.
    This is a wonderful picture and exactly the kind of thing that would have given me a sense of hope for the future when. I was a kid.
    It’s a little naive of the reporter to say that they wanted equal rights and now they’ve got them.
    Imagine if a white man could finally greet his black wife without getting fired but still had no marriage rights that his co-workers with same-race spouses had. Would anyone say he finally had equality?
    Equality has yet to be accorded but this photo represents the fact that the discussion itself is now allowed to take place.

  17. jpeckjr says

    One of the ways we can help Dalan and Brandon get that car, Towleroaders, is to purchase some of Dalan’s paintings. You can find some on Then search for Dalan Wells in the dropdown on the left. I’ll be bidding on at least one (not telling, don’t want competition!)

    And, please, if you look at them and it’s not to your taste, keep it to yourself.

  18. Fritz says

    Congratulations, Dalan and Brandon. Let’s hope we are moving toward a world in which such a photo will be utterly unremarkable. In the meantime, it made me smile.

  19. TJ says

    Valor is the better part of valor, right up there with integrity, honor, transparency, and steadfastness. How this is in any way indiscrete is beyond me. It was a genuine display of affection, the kind to which EVERYONE is entitled. In a way, this picture is mundane – it happens all the time when someone deployed returns. One day, such a photo will be of interest only because of artistry, not novelty. I love how this couple is embracing the chance to be true heros: using this unscripted moment to help others despite ridiculous calls for discretion and the wishes of small people with narrow minds to keep such displays of affection behind closed doors.


  20. Caliban says

    How many videos and photos, local to you and national, have you seen of the “emotional homecomings” of military personnel in the last 10 years? A straight soldier surprising their wife or husband or a child surprised by their parent returning from Middle East. I’d estimate I’ve seen dozens of them, though I didn’t always watch the whole video or read the entire article accompanying the photo.

    But I don’t think I’ve ever read anyone say THEY ought to “tone it down” or accuse them of just “trying to get attention!”

    As Brandson Morgan said in his initial response to the photo getting so much attention, the haters are going to hate you no matter what. If these two men had just shaken hands but were identified as gay they still would hate them. Because that’s what haters do, who they are.

    So you’ve got two options. You can either live your life trying to win approval from people who will NEVER give it to you (and who sure as h*ll aren’t living their lives to please YOU) or you can live your life authentically.

    So congratulations to Brandon and Dalan! Well done!

  21. jamal49 says

    Not necessarily, KIWI. There are some people who feel that any such public display of affection or intimacy is out of bounds no matter if you are gay or straight. There is a lot to be said for discretion, especially in this era of cell-phone voyeurism. I salute this young couple and wish them well.

  22. till the world ends says

    @ Rance.
    I know what you meant and for those of you that don’t please read….
    strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery

    It’s a great quote!

  23. LeeBessToad says

    Reed B is right. BF of 4 years? Sorry, but that is his partner, not his BF. Especially after enduring 3 separations during deployments.

    I’m sure the reporter was trying to be tactful and diplomatic, but time to call this one as it is. They are partners.

    Welcome home, Marine. Oorah, Marine!!!!!!!

  24. leprechaunvict says

    Congrats to you both! This photo is so inspirational. If you had told me back when I was a teenager that the photo, let alone the widely positive response to it, would be possible 20 years down the road I would have thought “no way, not possible.”

  25. Zlick says

    I don’t know if they are “partners.” A lot of people (including my BOYFRIEND) think it’s too business-oriented a term and Down-Low in approach. So no matter how long we’re together, my bf and I will be boyfriends until we can be freaking HUSBANDS.

    Congrats to Brandon and Dalen. Call yourselves whatever you care to (and I hope most press parrots your own preference of label). Sorry if the publicity is a bit of a pain, but thanks for rolling with it and letting the photo of your wonderful moment improve the world a little bit.

  26. Sherry Gordon says

    What a beautiful picture of these two young men who are very courageously serving our country kissing each other and openly showing their great love for one another!!!!! I love this superb and beautiful picture of them greeting each other with such love and not ashamed and not afraid so, so very much!!!!! I am so proud of this gay couple!!!!! A remarkable and fantastic picture!!!!!
    Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa USA

  27. scott says

    Many happy wishes and wonderful years together Dalan and Brandon.

    To Dalan-from a fellow artist- good luck with your art- you have some beautiful pieces 😉

    To Brandon- thanks for your years of service. We- as is the entire nation- are in your and your brothers and sisters debt for your service. You both deserve all the happiness in the world.

    And good luck with the car hunting!

  28. Robert says

    I’m sorry, but the fact that this was just shown on local news (in Hawaii of all places) is also massively important. I mean, wow. Things really have gotten tremendously better.

    And it’s such a great photo!

  29. Falcon says

    Discretion? Oh hell no!

    I was out there in ’93 with a toddler and a tiny baby chanting:

    It took 19 years of activism to get that photo. I am putting on my desktop.

    Now go kiss some troops if you love them, closets are for clothes.

  30. Chuck Mielke says

    @ Reed B: Yes, there’s always room for cynicism. Did you read the text? It clearly indicates that they had realized the depth of their feelings for each other during the deployment. This may well have been their first kiss. Make room in your heart for the possibility of romance.

  31. PFC Scott Kelly says

    I understand how you felt when you returned home from over seas. I would just like to say thank you to your friend, because of this photo it has made my life with my partner who is also in the Army a lot easier.

  32. Daniel in MO (not the grammar cop) says

    BTW the Times Square photo was not of a loving couple at all. They were complete strangers. These two men had not kissed before this moment. They had endured a long distance relationship due to deployment. I would agree with all the uptight folks ONLY IF they were the only couple kissing.

  33. Fred Dameron says

    I did a REAL quick Google of Mil Home comings. Many pictures of tonsillectomies and by pg three the exact same picture of a heterosexual couple she was up in his arms with legs wrapped around. Wife and I went from the long tonsillectomy kiss and wet BDU’s to hey babe quick kiss hug kids grab bags and off to what ever the kids activity was that day. Last deployment return I spent the night at the theater running scenery for my daughters dance school spring recital. These two get to that point well.

  34. angela b says

    Absolutely amazing! Its not about gay or straight! Its about all the brave men and women who leave behind their loved ones to fight for our freedom..your freedom of ignorant speech about gays! Thank you to all the gay men and women who serve our country even though they don’t have the freedom to love who they want to love! Most of you idiots that want to talk about this picture so negatively probably couldn’t even survive 2 weeks in military boot camp, much less the Marines! Thank you to these two beautiful men who openly and bravely show their love!

  35. Heather says

    Dale and Brandon mainly Brandon though made me feel better about “coming out” over Facebook. To people who didn’t know I was a lesbian. I thank Brandon so much and welcome him home because in about 4 years I’m enlisting in the United States Marine Corp Semper Fi!!! God bless you both

  36. NVAgBoi says

    “Less than a year ago, when the [DADT] policy was still in effect, the display of such a photo would have been frowned upon”

    UNDERSTATEMENT. OF. THE. CENTURY. Actually, it’s just a blatantly false statement by omission.

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