“Honestly, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care that much about what people say," Bryan Woodington told WJXT

By Caitlin Keating
December 31, 2018 01:09 PM
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Credit: Naval Station Mayport/Facebook

A photograph of a U.S. sailor kissing his husband after returning home from a seven-month deployment on USS The Sullivans is receiving backlash after the romantic moment was aired on a local news outlet.

Bryan Woodington received a ceremonial first kiss, which a sailor can win from their spouses’ charitable donation and a lottery, according to Jacksonville, Florida, news station WJXT.

“I was excited and I couldn’t wait for it to happen,” Bryan told the news outlet about the moment he was going to his see his husband Kenneth at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville. “I knew I was going to dip him.”

The kiss was identical to the iconic 1945 V-J Day kiss in Times Square.

Added the sailor’s husband, Kenneth Woodington: “He got off the ship and I lost all control. I just dropped everything and I just ran.”

But immediately after the kiss aired on WJXT, viewers began to call in and write angry letters about showing a photo of a gay couple.

“How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast,” wrote one viewer.

Another wrote, “I thought this was a ’family friendly’ news channel.”

The couple told the news outlet that they aren’t fazed by the negative comments, and have actually received more positive comments.

“It didn’t really bother me,” said Kenneth. “Honestly, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care that much about what people say.”

Added Bryan, “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.'”

The Naval Station Mayport, which shared the image on its Facebook page, received negative comments online, but spokesman Bill Austin told WJXT that the Navy “has always been gender-neutral and on the forefront of progress” and that this is not the first same-sex ceremonial kiss.