Florida's Naval Station Mayport quite often posts images of couples and families embracing each other for the first time after many months. After all, being deployed can be grueling for everyone involved.
So when a picture of a same-sex couple appearing to mimic the iconic World War II V-J Day kiss was published to the station's Facebook page, the reaction -- both positive and negative -- came in quickly.
Kenneth Woodington won a lottery to take part in the ceremonial first kiss upon return of the USS The Sullivans, WJXT-TV reports. He hadn't seen husband and sailor Bryan Woodington in seven months.
"I was excited and I could not wait for it to happen," Bryan Woodington told the TV station. "I knew I was going to dip him."
"How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast."
"I thought this was a ‘family friendly’ news channel."
The Woodingtons told WJXT that they received more positive comments than negative ones. Many of those are posted on the Navy station's page, too.
"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❤️."
"I’m a white, married and very heterosexual. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be in America where people get to be whoever and love whoever they want. Well done, Sailors. Keep doing what you are doing, and thank you for your service to our country."
When the negativity becomes too much, Bryan Woodington remembers his grandmother.
"My grandmother always taught me, she said, 'You know some people have a different life and this is how they are and you just have to treat them as such, and treat them with kindness and respect,'" he told the TV station.
Naval station spokesman Bill Austin told WJXT that it's not the first time a same-sex kiss happened, and it's a non-issue for the Navy.
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