CARMEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Two high school seniors from Putnam County have become Internet celebrities after a friend honored them not only as the first same-sex couple to win the "cutest couple" award for their class, but to be allowed to run for the distinction at all.
Chelsea Blaney, an 18-year-old senior at Carmel High School, posted the yearbook picture of Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor on her "I'm Always Singing" Tumblr blog.
"Two of my best friends won Cutest Couple of our senior class," she wrote. "First time in my school history a same-sex couple has even been able to run for this category, not to mention winning it. So proud of them, and my school."
Blaney posted Meehan and Taylor's picture to Tumblr late last week. As of Monday evening, the posting had racked up 110,555 "likes" and reblogs, and widespread news coverage.
In an e-mail sent to and published by the Huffington Post, the young men said they were surprised, but pleased, by the attention.
"This whole thing has been a bit surreal for us because we have been raised to believe that love is love. We never realized that our happiness and openness would inspire so many individuals," Meehan and Taylor wrote to the Huffington Post. "The support we have received from our family, friends, and even strangers has led us to believe that our affection for each other is normal."
They added in the e-mail that the idea of a photo of them being seen around the world would have been "frightening," but now they are proud to be part of the LGBT community.
Blaney told Newsday that when online voting began for senior superlatives, only straight couples were on the list. But she told the newspaper that she and her friends lobbied the school principal to include same-sex couples on the form.
Carmel High School principal Kevin Carroll told CBS 2 the decision to feature a gay couple in the yearbook as the "Cutest Couple" was made with the support of both parents and staff. He said Meehan and Taylor are both "good kids," set to receive multiple achievement awards at the end-of-the-year ceremony Thursday.
The photo of Meehan and Taylor has sparked media inquiries from all over the United States and Europe, Carroll told CBS 2.
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