“I can’t breath when I look into those eyes ….” – Brandon Morgan
Kihei, Maui, HI - What would you say if I told you that Brandon and Dalan were, “meant to be? Would you believe me, Would you agree? So tell me that you don’t think I’m crazy. When I tell you love has come and now…” the couple recently vacationed at Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort.
Michael Waddell, General Manager at Maui Sunseeker, told me they are, “truly amazing,” and reminded him alot of himself and long-term partner Llevellyn Lightsey. Waddell has been in a thirty-eight year committed relationship with Lightsey, the photographer responsible for the recent images of Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells during their two-night stay at the largest LGBT resort in Hawaii.
In a formal statement issued by Waddell for Maui Sunseeker he states:
“Brandon and Dalan are the guys that are in the photo that went viral on the internet when Brandon arrived in Honolulu after his latest deployment to Afghanistan. We were honored to have them stay with us at Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort for a few days before they leave Hawaii on their next life journey in New Orleans. We wish you all the best in life and look forward to your return to Maui Sunseeker and our beautiful island paradise.”
Waddell further commented:
“So enjoyed meeting Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells. Amazing couple, so much in love. They are so real and true to each other. Their photos tell the story. So fun that I got to see all the pics Llevellyn Lightsey took of them – living with the photographer has its advantages. Thanks Maui Sunseeker for the opportunity, support and commitment you demonstrate to the diversity that is our community and our world.”
“This man has changed my life, I am so proud of my Marine ….” – Dalan Wells
Michael Waddell’s statements coincided with a video presentation produced by Maui Sunseeker as the couple discussed how their lives have changed since the photograph went viral, to what the future holds for their relationship.
Both men have stated from the beginning it was never their intention to seek fame. Wells also told KHON News Honolulu, shortly after the popularity of the original photo, that by speaking with media he was only interested in helping, “troubled gay teens to hang in there.”
In the video presentation, that can be viewed in it’s entirety below, both men continued their support of the ‘It Get’s Better,’ message:
“The most dramatic change is we have never been able to meet and make this many friends. People from all over the world know us, from Germany to Paraguay. We keep getting e-mail daily about how they thank us for inspiring them to either go on with their lives, or they were having the crummiest day and now they feel inspired to live again.” – Brandon Morgan
“Whenever we think: ‘Ok this is too many e-mails, I can’t get on Facebook again, this is nuts! And then there is a high school student from Des Moines that wants to friend us on Facebook because he saw the photo and it inspired him. So that was the good, ‘It Gets Better’ side of it that we like. ” – Dalan Wells
”I never thought I would ever be able to fall in love as much as I have fallen in love with you.” – Brandon Morgan
So how does a dedicated United States Marine and an accomplished artist become global icons for the most consuming of all human emotions: love? On March 9th, 2012, I published an article entitled: A U.S. Marine’s ‘Enchanted Moment:’ Morgan Says: ‘Love is Love’ documenting a shared homecoming kiss after Morgan returned from a six month deployment in Afghanistan to the waiting arms of his partner Dalan Wells. The photo of Morgan, who is 5-feet 11-inches tall, kissing his 6-foot-6 partner has become a viral sensation, still receiving attention on media and social networks throughout the world.
I spoke with photographer, Llevellyn Lightsey concerning his thoughts on capturing the visible bond between the couple. Lightsey’s photographic talent has complimented Morgan’s now famous remark: “Love is Love,” while also documenting Well’s statement: “a simple act;” A simple act of love.
“I had the pleasure of photographing Brandon and Dalan …. You may remember the viral internet photo of the Marine returning from Afghanistan jumping into the waiting arms of his boyfriend; this is the couple. What nice men!
I was struck by how genuinely nice they are; and, their commitment to being good examples to/in our community. Brandon is mature well beyond his years …. Dalan is just naturally reserved. Brandon reminds me of a gregarious, loving puppy! …. They compliment each other well.”
”Because you are strong in spirit, mind, and body. It is very inspiring my love.” – Dalan Wells
As an outward symbol of the bond they share, a recent photo appeared on Morgan’s Facebook page with the following caption:
“Dalan and I bought each other promise rings today. Tungston with Koa Wood inlay. We bought them at Whalers Village on Maui.”
In response to many congratulation messages, Morgan replied:
“I wanted to get Dalan a promise ring till I can turn it into an actual wedding band. Thats still some time away though….”
In the near future, the couple will be relocating to New Orleans, Louisiana while Brandon is on his next assignment with the 4th Marine Corp. Air Wing Division.
“Apparently …. I’ve gone viral. Now I know how Ray William Johnson feels. The funny part is, is that I didn’t even mean to, I just wanted to kiss my boyfriend.” – Brandon Morgan
So I think I should also tell you, “some people wait a lifetime, For a moment like this.”
Selected lyrics from A Moment Like This written by John Robinson Reid / Jorgen Elofsson as performed by Kelly Clarkson.
I would like to thank the following individuals for their assistance and contributions that enabled me to write this article.
Photographer Llevellyn Lightsey for providing me with his images and personal statements.
Michael Waddell, General Manger of Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, for providing personal statements and a video.
Anita Kinley is an independent photojournalist based in Hot Springs, AR. For questions or comments please e-mail Anita at email@example.com.