Valentine’s ’Kiss In’ Planned for Notre Dame in Paris

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday February 11, 2010

Oooh, la la: gays in France have a special St. Valentine's Day celebration planned--following in the footsteps of their American brethren, Gallic GLBTs have a "kiss in" slated to take place before the Notre Dame cathedral in the City of Light.

The Paris celebration follows similar Stateside demonstrations like the Great Nationwide Kiss-In or last October's Queer Liberaction lip-lock event in Fort Worth, Texas, which drew a sizeable number of protestors from an local Baptist church and sparked national media attention. Kiss ins elsewhere in Texas elicited police response: publicly kissing queers were arrested in El Paso and San Antonio last year.

Kiss in events have taken place before other places of worship; in San Diego, a snogfest was organized outside a Mormon temple last summer, and similar events took place in Salt Lake City following the arrest of a male couple who were arrested by security when they swapped spit while in a Salt Lake plaza owned by the Mormon Church.

The kissing-as-protest phenomenon also takes aim at secular targets. Last April 15 saw the first "Same Sex Kiss Day" an event organized to take place at Starbucks Coffee locations across the nation to draw attention to the fact that gay and lesbian families are penalized with taxes that heterosexual couples--who are not denied the right to marry--do not have to pay.

The very idea of gays carrying out a St. Valentine's Day kissing campaign in celebration of same-sex love, romance, and commitment drew the attention of American anti-gay Web site LifeSiteNews, a religious site that frequently posts GLBT-themed stories. LifeSiteNews reported that a "homosexualist" group has drawn up plans for the kiss in, which is scheduled for Feb. 14, a Sunday, at 2:00 p.m., following church services at the Notre Dame cathedral.

The article drew from comments made by Arthur Vautier, the organizer of the St. Valentine's Day kiss in, who told Tetu magazine that the event was intended to "challenge the Church to question religion on the issue of love and marriage between gays and between lesbians." The Catholic Church acknowledges that gays do not choose their sexuality, but nonetheless denounces gays as "disordered" and teaches that God's plan for gays is that they should live celibate lives without the fulfillments of family.

LifeSiteNews also cited another religious site, Catholic Culture City, which sent a call to arms to anti-gay Christians, instructing them to "respond firmly and courteously" to the kiss in, which the blog termed a "new provocation by the gay lobby and suspected complicity of the media [sic]."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.