(INSIDE EDITION) - This gay couple is proving that it’s not “just a phase.”
Nicholas Cardello of Tampa, Fla., was photographed kissing boyfriend Kurt English on the cheek during the March on Washington in 1993.
When the couple — now married and in their 50s — attended the Equality March in D.C. last week, they decided to recreate the iconic photo by the Washington Monument.
“We’re here again marching for the same cause, 24 years later,” Cardello told InsideEdition.com.
He explained that when he marched with English in 1993, they had only been together for about a year.
Despite living in Tampa, they decided to make the trek up to the nation's capital to participate in the event after Cardello’s brother died of AIDS just months earlier.
“It was probably the first time that as a gay person, we were a majority,” he explained. “No matter where you went, everyone was partying. It was a really festive atmosphere. It was a really good change to see what it’s like to be on the other side.”
After this year’s march, Cardello decided to post the photographs side-by-side on his Facebook. Before they knew it, their photograph commemorating their long-lasting relationship was an internet sensation.
“We started reading the comments on the post and it really touched us how many people connected with that photo,” Cardello said. “A lot of people were posting, 'Hey this is a relationship goal,’ or they were tagging people and saying, ‘Hey, this can be us in 25 years.'"
Cardello said he and English are generally private people on social media, but they're glad to have shared the intimate moment.
"We're still concerned about gay bashing, so we never hold hands in public; we never kiss in public," he explained. "[But] it's really important for people to see gay couples being just couples, posting the same photos our straight counterparts post. Those images are missing from social media.”
Similarly, Cardello said they still regularly participate in LGBTQ events around their community.
“You need to represent," he said. "You need to be present. We go to Pride every year to be supportive. It’s really important that youth see older couples participating in Pride events because it’s important to relay the history of what’s gotten us to this point.”