A gay couple who received homophobic and racist abuse after a picture of them with their daughters went viral say the incident brought them closer as a family.

Kordale and Kaleb Lewis received a huge following online, after posting a picture of them getting their daughters ready for school in January.

However, following the incident, they also began to receive racist and homophobic abuse online, which snowballed into a torrent of hate mail.

One comment read: “Poor kids being raised w/these nasty men… and all the black folks defending the gay mess now?

“Blacks have gotten well indoctrinated w/this sickness spread by the satanic media and agendas when we used to be so much more sensible back in the day. Next, y’all will be congratulating the pedophiles b/c that too will be spoonfed to the masses as popular and cool.”

Speaking to the Huffington Post before the launch of his memoir Picture Perfect?, Kordale Lewis said the incident had only brought them closer.

He said: “This experience has brought our family much closer. This just does not include our immediate family but also extended family. More of our aunts, uncles and cousins have extended their love and compassion.

“They said they are very proud that we are open and honest with our lifestyle and impressed with the way we have handled the backlash. My Aunt said I was ‘brave and honest’ and those words were very comforting when we received so much hate mail.

“Since the backlash of our photo, Kaleb and I have received many requests from the media to discuss our lives.

“While we wanted to stay quiet and focus on our family, we ultimately decided that our experience could help spread the message of equality for all human beings.

“Like a lot of gay people, we want the same rights as heterosexuals: marriage equality. Recently we became engaged and we would like nothing better than to marry in our home state of Georgia.

“We would like to help give the gay community a positive image and give everyday people a real view of how most gays live their life on a day-to-day basis.

“Letting people into our lives will help shed light on our beautiful home life and hopefully counter negative attitudes about homosexuals and raising children.”