The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


May 25, 2014

It’s just a guy thing – many cringed as Sam puckered up

- — Here are some thoughts from a guy who like many others cringed when he saw Michael Sam share a passionate kiss with his boyfriend when he was drafted into the NFL recently.

ESPN had cameras in the room with Sam when the first openly gay player was picked by St. Louis into the NFL late on the final day. And although many people complained that they showed the kiss between Sam and his significant other, I fully understand it and support it.

It was a historic moment. And I can accept the ESPN explanation that if we see many other players on TV kissing their girlfriends when they are drafted, I guess we shouldn’t have a problem with a gay player kissing his boyfriend.

However, if Sam wouldn’t have “come out” before the draft as being gay, there would have been no cameras at his place because he was picked very late in the draft. But ESPN went for the dramatic shot.

But just because a guy raises his eyebrows at seeing the Sam kiss, doesn’t mean he should be labeled as homophobic.

I for one am all in favor of gay rights -- and I believe in same-sex marriage. I was very happy when Pennsylvania's ban of gay marriage was shot do wn in the courts, allowing gays and lesbians to wed the person they love.

But again about “THE KISS.” There is one simple reason I cringed when I saw it: Dudes don’t like watching dudes kiss other dudes!

As I said it doesn’t mean they are homophobic, although I’m sure some are including some members of the St. Louis Rams team that Sam will join.

Just being honest. And as we move into this new era concerning gay rights, I have no doubt that we will become accustomed to seeing more if it – and I’m fine with that too.

There was a big deal made when the movie “Brokeback Mountain” came out several years back that told the story of two gay cowboys. It was lauded as a great movie by many. I didn’t think it was that good, but not because of the gay theme that obviously vaulted its value in the eyes of movie critics.

Still it opened some eyes to what gay people go through in trying to hide their feelings for members of the same sex.

I am a member of the Farrell Human Relations Commission. We deal with acts of discrimination. Gay rights are protected under the Farrell Human Relations Act. But did you know that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act does not prevent discrimination against gays.

Pennsylvania is backward on a lot of things and this is one of them. That’s why it took a federal judge to shoot down Pa.’s ban on same-sex marriage, just as judges have done in other areas of the country.

Maybe the recent ruling will inspire Pennsylvania to adopt better discrimination rules against gays. I can only hope.

Kudos to Bishop Sean Rowe of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania for his praise of the same-sex ruling. Bishop Rowe is formerly of Hermitage and he is a great guy. It took a lot of guts to come out with that announcement when many people in various religious communities take a stance against same-sex marriages.

The world is changing. And who knows. Maybe very soon it won’t be a surprise to anyone when dudes kiss dudes in public.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each week for The Opinion Page. He can be reached at

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