As the song goes, “a kiss is just a kiss.” But we beg to differ. Sometimes a kiss can be so much more — romantic, sure — but also symbolic, defiant, even game-changing.
Those are the kinds of smooches we want to look back on — the ones that shocked and inspired. Some were groundbreaking while others struck a cultural chord, changing the world as we knew it.
In honor of Cupid’s holiday today, we offer up some game changing same-same smooches.
Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean in Making Love (1982)
This movie was groundbreaking at the time as the first mainstream Hollywood drama to deal with being gay, being closeted and coming out. Ontkean is married to Charlie’s Angel, Kate Jackson, till Harry Hamlin comes along and turns him on like a Fawcett (*rimshot*), awakening long-suppressed feelings.
Michael Sam and Vito Commisano (2014)
Michael Sam became the first openly gay athlete to be drafted by a professional sports team when the St. Louis Rams selected him number 249 in the 7th round of the National Football League draft. So what if Sam didn’t eventually suit up with a pro NFL team? This kiss was broadcast directly into countless beer-chugging straight sports fans living rooms.
Madonna and Britney (2003)
This pure pop moment was all bubblegum and no bite, but there’s a reason people still remember it. Pop music plays (or played) a funny game of simultaneously marketing itself to the masses while being devotedly embraced by gay fans. This kiss acknowledged the gay connection a good five years before Lady Gaga would hit the scene and embrace it head on.
Marissa Gaeta and Citlalic Snell (2011)
After a repeal of the U.S. Navy’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell were the first same sex couple to be able to publicly reprise the famed V-J kiss.
Roseanne and Mariel Hemingway on Roseanne (1994)
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” generated enormous controversy before it aired because it included a same-sex kiss between Roseanne and Sharon, played by guest star Mariel Hemingway. ABC initially planned not to air the episode. The network eventually relented and the episode was viewed by an audience of some 30 million people.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
If you want to get your heart ripped out for two-and-a-half hours, sit down with a box of Kleenex to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain. Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar’s (Ledger) tale of unrequited love is one of cinema’s most poetically beautiful and the violent, passionate kiss they share after finally being reunited is just about perfect.
Time Magazine Cover (2013)
Accompanying an article lauding the public support for gay marriage leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the magazine argued the cover image “symbolized the love that is at the heart of the idea of marriage.”
San Francisco City Hall (2012)
On Feb. 7, 2012 a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the voter-approved Proposition 8 measure violates the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. Emotions were high, and lips were triumphantly locked.
Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann in As The World Turns (2007)
The first gay kiss on daytime television was shared between characters Luke and Noah on As The World Turns, paving the way for for more trashy gay TV kisses we love to hate to love.
Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, DOMA struck down (2013)
Katami asked Zarrillo to marry him before members of the media, outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC after the US Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a federal law that prohibits the US government from recognizing gay marriage and providing benefits to same-sex couples.