A Florida TV station, WJXT, has received anti-gay hate after showing a dramatic same-sex kiss between a returning member of the Navy and his husband.
Bryan Woodington returned home on December 21, after seven months deployment in the Middle East, and was seen kissing his husband Kenneth Woodington in spectacular style. The moment was aired on Jacksonville, Florida, TV channel WJXT.
The station reported that its viewers responded with a bombardment of hateful messages and phone calls, saying: “I’ll never watch your news again!!!! So long, News4Jax” and “I thought this was a ‘family friendly’ news channel.”
“How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast.”
— A WJXT viewer
One person who was watching wrote to say: “How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your [newscast].
“How many people are now trying to explain to [their] young kids why 2 men were kissing. very disgusting. An ex [viewer].”
Gay Florida couple Kenneth and Bryan Woodington don’t care about the hate
The husbands, who had been apart for more than half of their year-long marriage, were unfazed by the outrage their kiss sparked.
“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.”
Bryan added: “My grandmother always taught me: ‘You know some people have a different life and this is how they are, and you just have to treat them as such, with kindness and respect.'”
The spouses were too thrilled with their kiss to give the haters much thought, with Bryan commenting: “I was excited and I could not wait for it to happen. I knew I was going to dip him.”
Kenneth said: “When he got off the ship, I lost all control, I just dropped everything and I just ran.”
Bryan explained that this was a teaching moment, and that a collection of ignorant viewers wouldn’t stop him from loving his husband.
“I gave him nothing but love and care and understanding right out the gate, so I think we just fell for each other really hard and we both knew what we really wanted,” said the naval serviceman.
Bill Austin, a spokesman for Naval Station Mayport, reportedly said a same-sex first kiss had happened before and didn’t matter in the Navy, which he said was at the forefront of progress.