Just last week, two men were asked to leave a Chico’s Tacos in El Paso after the staff saw them kissing. Leave it to Texas’ finest to inform the gents that their kiss was, in fact, a crime, explaining that they could be cited for “homosexual conduct” under the very same law that in 2003–six years ago–the US Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional.
A few days later, Matt Aune and his partner Derek Jones were returning home from a concert, and took a shortcut through the plaza outside the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple. After a guard witnessed Aune giving Jones a hug and a kiss on the cheek, the lovebirds were detained, handcuffed and charged with misdemeanor trespassing. In the age of Milk and Bruno, it’s easy to forget that there are still parts of the country where same-sex couples–or even same-sex friends–fear retribution merely for showing affection. Salt Lake is a perfect example of this American schizophrenia, with a flourishing gay ‘hood not far from that bastion of homophobia, the Mormon Church. These couples were simply doing what comes naturally for couples. But what to them was a simple kiss, to the rest of the country was a wake up call about the continued indignities meted out to unsuspecting gays & lesbians.