Sgt. Brandon Morgan and his partner Dalan Wells sharing a welcome home kiss in Hawaii. (Photo credit: MSNBC/Gay Marines)
(MSNBC) -- A photograph showing a United States Marine's homecoming was posted to a public Facebook page on Saturday evening.
Unlike the countless other images uploaded to the social network on that day, this one triggered thousands of re-posts and likes -- along with hundreds of news stories.
Why? Because in the photograph, Sgt. Brandon Morgan is embracing and kissing his male partner, Dalan Wells.
The image was posted to a Facebook page called "Gay Marines" with a caption explaining that it shows the homecoming "for a Marine who posts on this page." The text finishes with a simple "Semper Fi, brother."
So far, there are over 8,000 comments, nearly 6,000 shares and over 35,000 likes on the Facebook post. There are also hundreds of news stories about the image by outlets such as ABC News, The Atlantic, NPR and more.
The photo of Morgan and Wells kissing isn't the first of its kind, of course. In December 2011, the Associated Press published a photo of two women sharing what was, according to the Navy, the first same-sex reunion kiss.
But while Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell certainly made history with their smooch, and the news story drew plenty of social media attention, it is difficult to compare the response they received to the one to the photo of Morgan and Wells.
Unlike with that first kiss, there was no AP photographer on hand and things didn't start with a news article or press release. Instead, it was a simple Facebook post which triggered a wave of attention, both good and bad.
Many more similar images are likely to surface in the future, thanks to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act, which allows for openly gay, lesbian or bisexual individuals to openly serve in the U.S. military. The act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2010 and implemented in September 2011.