Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Antipodeans in a flurry over same-sex kiss at a cricket match ...

... and no, this is not some story about two cricketers indulging in a bit of on-pitch snogging!

It seems that two young women attending a cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Napier decided to have a quick peck on the lips. So? Unfortunately, this was picked-up by on-pitch cameras and broadcast on the big screen at the pitch, prompting a security guard to warn them to desist and not to repeat their behaviour, although the crowd was cheering.

Two reactions followed. A local cricketing official apologised for the guard's actions and encouraged the young women to return and enjoy themselves. However an official at the Westpac stadium in Wellington took a different view saying that guards there would be instructed to intervene to stop similar behaviour.

Whilst it's not relevant to the point I wish to make, it so happens that in this particular instance one of the two women is a mother of three and her boyfriend was present and laughed at his partner's actions. If he doesn't mind, then it seems to me it is of no concern to anyone else. What's wrong with two people showing mild affection?

What's wrong? Well, the Westpac stadium official in Wellington clearly thought their action was inappropriate for a 'family stadium' (whatever that is!).

Labour Cabinet Minister Chris Carter, who is gay, seems to me to have put this in its proper context, though:



"It seems to me that this is a human rights issue. If there's no kissing allowed at all, then fair enough. But if opposite-sex couples can kiss, then . . . same-sex couples should be allowed to as well.

"It seems to me, as an ordinary gay person, that this is very surprising and unfair."

Last month we in the UK saw, happily, the coming into force of the Civil Partnerships Act. It occurred to me at the time that this was likely, in due course, to raise a number of analagous incidents in this country. How many gay people, for example, would be comfortable walking around any city or town in Britain simply holding hands - a sight which is quite common amongst heterosexual couples? Very few, I think, except perhaps in parts of Soho in London or parts of Brighton or Manchester. It's possible that physical violence might not always follow, but it is certainly probable that the couple in question would be made to feel uncomfortable. Now that we have civil partners, however, it is inevitable and absolutely natural, I think, that same sex couples may occasionally, when the mood takes them, stroll through their local communities holding hands, just as any other couple might do. They might even occasionally exchange a peck on the cheek, just as any male/female couple might occasionally feel inclined to. Get used to it.

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