Ever wanted to kiss someone? Me too. But when you're gay, this often comes with consequences. The first time I kissed a girl in public, we ended up having to call the cops for protection.
We had been on a date, and after saying goodbye on a city corner, we hailed a cab to take us home to our respective addresses. As the cabbie drove us away, he told us that we could "continue doing what we were doing." He wanted us to kiss in his cab for his pleasure.
We did nothing of the sort but sat in silence for the short distance to my first kiss' apartment. She wouldn't let me stay in the cab with that guy alone, so to get away from him, we both went up to her apartment. He followed us.
She lived in the back of a complex, and he followed us through the complex and into the interior courtyard, and then, unable to figure out where we'd gone, he began calling out for us. He kept trying to determine which apartment we were in. He kept trying to open the locked door of the building.
That was my introduction to being gay and kissing in public. I know that everyone who reads this has a kiss-related story. Some are much more frightening, while others are certainly more romantic. Kisses are usually hard to forget. But when they bring the threat of danger, they are memorable for the wrong reasons.
Fortunately, in this country, a great deal is changing for same-sex couples, with more and more people finding harassment of gay and lesbian Americans unacceptable. Even more importantly, discrimination against gay and lesbian couples is becoming increasingly viewed as antithetical to our nation's founding principles of freedom and incongruent with the tenets of our constitution.
In less than three weeks, on March 26, 2013, the Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California. A day later the court will weigh the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
We can't all be lawyers, lobbyists, politicians or plaintiffs in the fight for civil rights for the LGBTQ community, but we can still play a part in this historic moment. We can show our support for equality with our humanity. The very act that is often so challenging for same-sex couples is also a potentially powerful show of solidarity.
On March 26, whether you are gay or straight, do something simple yet courageous. Kiss someone you love and share your kiss with the world. Tell everyone, "I kiss for equality."
In response to my previous blog post, "The Supreme Kiss: Let's Kiss Inequality Goodbye," one man wrote:
My partner and I kiss hello and goodbye as naturally as drinking water. I suggest this affection is exactly what people need to see...mostly because [it is] part of the natural flow of daily life. If a person finds it objectionable, it's up to that person to deal with it on his or her own because, after all, it was just a routine kiss between loved ones.
Kissing is as effortless as breathing, a part of daily life that requires no thought, just heart. Whether you are straight or gay, it means exactly the same thing. A kiss symbolizes connection. It represents a union that is greater than yourself.
But kissing also takes courage. Whether you are kissing a lover goodbye or your 5-year-old hello, it requires you to embrace another spirit and reveal some of your own. In some circumstances it requires you to take a stand.
More than ever, powerful voices are expressing their support for gay rights and, at this particular moment, for gay marriage. Last week more than 200 companies contributed to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA. More than 100 prominent Republicans asked the court to overturn Proposition 8. Of greatest significance, the Obama administration made its own case, urging the court not only to declare DOMA unconstitutional but also Proposition 8.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote, "The tide is moving in one direction, toward the legal approval of marriage equality. As recognized by powerful people and institutions who are now making a public stand, it is a civil right whose time has come."
It is time to make a public stand. It is time for us all to show the Supreme Court that we are ready to evolve as a nation and grant every citizen the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. It is time to kiss inequality goodbye.
On March 26, let's do that.