A photo of a gay US marine sharing a home-coming kiss with his boyfriend in Hawaii has become an online sensation.

Sgt Brandon Morgan of Oakdale, California shared the kiss with partner back on US soil and posted the photo to the Gay Marines Facebook page, where it attracted thousands of ‘likes’ and spread virally across the internet.

The Joe My God blog published a post Morgan made on Facebook saying: “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.

“As for the haters, let em hate…to quote Kat Williams, everyone needs haters, so let them hate. We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform…it was a homecoming, if the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn’t care…then why do you care what these random people have to say? In summation thank you for your love and support.”

In December, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta returned home from service on the USS Oak Hill and won an on-board raffle to be the first to kiss her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell when they docked.

In September 2011, the ban on openly gay and lesbian US troops was lifted after nearly two decades in effect.

The law, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they kept their sexual orientation a secret. It was passed in 1993.