OAKDALE (CBS13) – It’s a homecoming with a twist when a Marine sergeant jumped into the waiting arms of his boyfriend and gave him a kiss that’s making headlines.

Brandon Morgan grew up in Oakdale before joining the Marines. Now his mother says because of the reaction to a picture of that kiss, her son’s safety is her main concern.

“I didn’t think of it any way — whether it be bad or good or whatever. It’s just like ‘Thank God he made it home safe,'” Angie Panelli told CBS13 in a phone interview.

Morgan, 25, was returning from Afghanistan when he jumped into the waiting arms of his boyfriend, Dalan Wells.

The military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members was officially repealed last September.

Morgan said he’s proud of the attention the photo has generated.

“Apparently this photo has been dubbed the kiss seen or heard ’round the world,” he said. “It’s breaking barriers. People feel more confident to live their own life and be truthful to who they know they are.”

Reaction in Oakdale was mixed.

“He’s definitely served our country so he deserves that right,” one woman said.

“I’m a Christian so I wouldn’t advocate it,” said another.

The picture has gone viral, with tens of thousands of hits and comments. Reaction ranges from encouraging to cruel.

Angie appreciates the support but is concerned about backlash.

“You got people out there that are so full of hatred that,” she said. “That’s what scares me and my husband the most is we don’t want him to get hurt because of all this.”

Angie describes her son as brave with a big heart, and reminds the people she calls “the haters” that her son is fighting for freedom.

People have the right to say what they want, she said. She just wants them to think about what they say.

“I think he’s compassionate, loving and caring and any mother would be happy to have a son like that.

Comments (145)
  1. Proud Gay Christian says:

    There is no just war. I view war as a constant violation of the commandment do not kill. I am constantly amazed that many Christians will condone war but will condemn love expressed between people of the same gender. Jesus said nothing either pro or con regarding homosexuality. Please show love for all of God’s children because all God’s children were created in God’s image. Let’s show love for those willing to die for our country and our freedoms and let’s show the youth of this nation that it is alright to show love to both a person of the same gender and also opposite gender.

    1. Adam says:

      100% True…I’m not gay…but I’ve met better people who are gay than most of the Christians I know…the Christians I’ve met are judgmental, love violence, hate everyone, but then tell you about how Jesus loves me….

    2. Daryl says:

      True Christians can’t be gay!

  2. Jason Ridolfi says:

    Semper Fi. Dont listen to anyone else. You served your country as one of the select few, the proud have. Gay or not you are my brother. The regulars don’t know what combat means. They never will. You fight with us, you die with us. Good luck to you. Sgt. Ridolfi, USMC

    1. marco says:

      i agree. for risking his LIFE, he DESERVES to be happy to be with the man he loves.

    2. Daryl says:

      sempershy, I think Jason wants to meet you!

  3. Soldiergirl says:

    Im a d.ike and i can’t help it, I wish i could be normal!

    1. marco says:

      you ARE normal. god made u exactly who u r.

  4. Daryl says:

    marco, being gay is a choice you have choosen to lay in.

  5. Lovein it says:

    Thanks for serving you country, Brandon. I wish you luck and happiness in the future.

  6. Lovein it says:

    Thanks for serving, Brandon. I wish you luck and happiness in the future.

  7. Mr. Mike says:

    Pictures like this are good exposure for the gay community, because they shatter stereotypes. Brandon, if you’re reading this, thank you for your service, and welcome home. I wish you and Dalan all the best.

    1. Mr. Mike says:

      And I’m also a sick F.A,gg

  8. Garrison says:

    Dude….. You are the man. We are so proud of you. Please get your story out in literary form. There is pent up demand o read about the specifics o your story

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