I was a Kiss Cam virgin when we went to see the Orioles at Camden Yards a couple of years ago. The minor league ball field near my house in Maine didn’t feature a big video screen, so I was surprised when, late in the game, the camera zoomed in on one couple after another, and they all obediently kissed. I’m not sure of the criteria used to deem a couple worthy of the Kiss Cam, but one defining characteristic became clear: these were all pairs consisting of a man and a woman.
I happened to be sitting with my Beloved, and I know from the selfies we took with my iPhone that night we looked about as ridiculously in love as two people could. It’s not that we wanted to be on camera, but it bothered me that we wouldn’t even be considered a possibly romantic couple, simply because we are both women.
It’s a silly thing. People are sitting minding their own business when suddenly one of them notices they are being shown on a huge screen and nudges the other. They oblige the crowd, usually, in an innocent fashion. Occasionally you hear a story about the camera falling on a brother and sister (including a brother who ran away, thinking that would be hilarious), admittedly an awkward misapprehension. I’m sure there are friends who have kissed, because why not, and couples who have done so reluctantly because they just barely felt like coming to the game together anyway. When Kiss Cam comes calling, even the President and the First Lady oblige.
I live my day to day life in a home and in a church/workplace where my status as a woman married to a woman is taken for granted. Sometimes I forget and think I’m ordinary. It’s not that I want to kiss on camera — although I would be more likely to be okay with it than my more private wife would — but I want to think that even we could be included in something so banal. Aren’t we just as cute as the Obamas?
It is, as I said before, a silly thing.
Except that it’s not.
Now I live near a minor league team with a big screen and cameras, and I’ve been initiated into the mysteries of the Kiss Cam prank. After doing what I’ve described above, the last place the camera lands is on two players from the visiting team, sitting in the dugout. The first time I saw it, one of them good-naturedly bussed the other on the cheek. I chuckled, until I considered the implications, and at the next game I saw something that more accurately reflected the feelings of the crowd. This time the two visiting players looked disgusted.
Not only are couples like us not included, couples like us are the butt of a joke.
When people wonder why we need legislation and the courts to change the status of couples like us and all LGBT people, when states take votes on our rights because the majority rules, I remind myself that the rule of the majority is also the rule of the lowest common denominator. It’s very easy to condemn others because they seem different, or we think we are better, for whatever reasons we’ve been taught and to which we cling. We see this in racism and sexism and heterosexism, too. We see it reinforced by churches and other institutional and moral structures. We make assumptions: “That man and that woman sitting next to each other are a couple. They will fit right into this neighborhood/church/club.”
Jesus did not make assumptions in a way that excluded people. In Luke 7, Simon the Pharisee wonders about Jesus’ status as a prophet. A real prophet would know the woman weeping over his feet was a sex worker and therefore would not want her to be in the room, much less touching his body.
A real prophet would never be caught sitting next to this woman, would he?
Jesus knew all about her. He knew everything that mattered. He knew she was an ordinary person with a desire to be in community with God.
It isn’t God who has the problem. God embraces all of us.
The Supreme Court will soon rule on DOMA and Proposition 8. I hope the highest court will find some higher common denominator, a higher sense of our common humanity, when their majority rules. Whether we’re at the emergency room or the swimming pool, paying taxes or buying Christmas presents, adopting a child or bringing home a rescued pet, sealing our vows in church or going along with the fun at the minor league game let us be ordinary people.
We’re sitting right next to you.
(Cross-posted at There Is Power in the Blog.)