The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, next Saturday
Posted on 8 Aug 2009 by Justin Ruckman
day: next Saturday, Aug 15
where: Freedom Park
“The Great Nationwide Kiss-In was formed in response to recent events in three different U.S. cities, where gay or lesbian couples have been harassed, detained or arrested for the simple act of kissing in a public place. Badash, Mailloux, and Witte created this event as a peaceful celebration of everyone’s right to publicly acknowledge their loved ones – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight – with a kiss.”
The idea for the kiss-in was started by gay-rights bloggers David Badash (of The New Civil Rights Movement and The Bilerico Project), David Mailloux (of DYM SUM), and Willow Witte, Co-Founder and Director of Join The Impact, a grassroots LGBT organization.
“Gay activists and bloggers throughout the country, as well as couples arrested, have said that the recent incidents involving gay and lesbian couples kissing in San Antonio, and El Paso, TX, as well as Salt Lake City, UT were entirely related to their sexual orientation. After all charges were dropped against the same-sex couple arrested in Salt Lake City, Badash said, ‘That all charges were dropped is a win for the LGBT community, and for equality, but the fact that this incident not only occurred, but went as far as it did, shows the need for greater understanding. The Great Nationwide Kiss-In can help everyone see that simple signs of affection hurt no one, and strengthen the bonds we all have with our communities.’
Badash’s original vision for the event will have thousands of couples – gay and straight – showing this simple, innocent form of affection for one another in popular public locations throughout the United States. Mailloux has supported that vision since day one.
‘It’s truly shocking that – in 2009, with homosexuality decriminalized throughout the United States, and same-sex marriage legalized in six states – we are still seeing law enforcement and other individuals harassing and detaining homosexual couples,’ Mailloux said. ‘In two of the three incidents, the couples only kissed on the cheek. There’s nothing inappropriate about that. There’s nothing illegal about that. Kissing is a beautiful thing; it’s a timeless show of affection for our loved ones. People kiss on the cheek or on the lips every single day, in any number of public places – airports, subways, sidewalks, coffee shops. The LGBT community should be allowed that same right without concern or consequences.’
While other local Kiss-In events in Salt Lake City or San Diego have taken place on or near Mormon property, Badash, Mailloux, and Witte all agree that the Great Nationwide Kiss-In should be as non-controversial as possible.
‘These events are meant to be fun and emphasize the beauty of love and simple affection between two people,’ Witte said. ‘People shouldn’t be made to live in fear of expressing their love! Love was meant to be celebrated. We just want people to come, to enjoy the company of the LGBT community, then at the designated hour, everyone will kiss. We want to make this statement about the beauty of such chaste affection, and the right for everyone to share that affection with whomever they choose in whatever environment suits them.’”
Excerpts taken from press release distributed yesterday evening.