Organizers of the Great Nationwide Kiss In understood the importance of a kiss when they first decided to turn it into a movement. They repeatedly told the stories of: the two men in El Paso who were kicked out of Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas for kissing; the two lesbians kicked out of Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas for kissing; and the two young mean forcefully detained for a kiss on a popular promenade is Salt Lake City which is now owned by the Mormon Church. Those are the stories we hear and feel because they happened, they are fact. But what about the stories we don’t hear because the residents are afraid of the repercussions from law enforcement and stay hidden in the closet? What about those we don’t hear because the law turns them away?
While kiss in events have spread internationally, one city in the United States won’t be having one – not unless a few brave souls will step forward and organize it. Springfield, MO residents have advised the national organizers that, because it is illegal for persons of the “same-sex to flirt” in the city, they cannot hold a kiss in event. Although the law isn’t as direct in its wording as the residents, their short-hand version is on point.
The actual law is made part of the Springfield Code of Ordinances, Sec. 78-224, which states:
It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.
Even though the law does not specifically indicate that the parties involved must be of the same-sex, it’s obvious the law cannot equally be applied to heterosexual couples. Why? Heterosexual couples can claim that they were not enticing (publicly anyway) sexual acts that constitute sodomy under the law. Instead, they could easily claim that the flirtations were for the purpose of missionary-style vaginal intercourse. Note: I have just learned that the tile of this law is “Solicitation by Homosexuals” therefore, claims of heterosexual violations of the law are moot.
Because nearly all aspects of “gay sex” are covered under the sodomy law, including mutual masturbation, gay persons would not be able to claim a sexual advance as anything outside the scope of this local ordinance. Thus, a kiss in event could likely be considered a criminal act in Springfield, MO and the people there have fallen silent choosing oppression over possible arrest for intending to entice sodomy.
The law, even if not enforced, is doing exactly what it was intended to do – keep gays away. That’s why these events are important. They are not about public displays of affection, they are about equality — they ARE about not being afraid anymore.
The Great Nationwide Kiss In is being held in over 50 cities in the US, Canada and Guam. This morning, the third promotional video was released.