Skip to content

Valentine’s kiss for equal marriage

Doisneau Norms Hotel de Ville_2

Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day draws ever closer. The empty shelves of post-Christmas and post-sales shopping have been filled with rosy red pleasantries, boxes of indulgent truffles, delicate red roses and cards making declarations of ever lasting love. But there’s something about the commercialisation of love at Valentine’s which has always slightly unnerved me. Yes, it’s a chance to remind your loved one that your cherish them, but isn’t there something contrived about telling them this only when a card shop tells you to?

For these two Norms however, there is no need for a card, a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers to demonstrate their true bond of love and affection – a simple, heartfelt kiss will do, here shared in front of one of the most iconic buildings of Paris’ 4th arrondissement, the Hotel de Ville. On holiday from London and staying in the Marais (which also hosts Paris’ gay district), these Norms also have something else to celebrate this year asides from their own love – the British Parliament has just voted by overwhelming majority to give same-sex couples the right to marry.

Doisneau Norms share a valentine's kiss in celebration of equal marriage (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Doisneau Norms share a valentine’s kiss in celebration of equal marriage (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

In doing so, Parliament have not made a statement about faith or religion, nor attempted to widen the extents of religious marriage beyond the bounds with which the church is comfortable. Rather, they have recognised, quite simply, that for both men and women who love those of their own sex, being gay is not a choice made or a lifestyle favoured, but who they are, and how they were born. Why then should gay men, women (and Norms)  not be afforded the equal opportunity to marry when they, like heterosexual couples, find themselves in a relationship so strong and so loving that they want to devote themselves to that person for the rest of their lives?

The Doisneau original

The Doisneau original

So this Valentine’s day, even if you do not have a loved one with whom to share a Valentine’s day kiss, take some time to consider the enhanced rights which have been afforded to gay men, women (and Norms) all over the UK. Finally, like their heterosexual counterparts, they have been given the opportunity to validate their love in marriage like everyone else.

And for those eagle-eyed art lovers amongst you, you may recognise the scene which these two Norms now recreate. It is, of course, based on the famous photograph, Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, by celebrated French photographer Robert Doisneau. Last Valentine’s I recreated another of his famous kiss photographs from the 1950s on canvas, in Norm-style. Here is that painting, and the Doisneau’s originals.

Le bazier de l'opera (after Doisneau) (acrylic on canvas, 2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Le baiser de l’opera (after Doisneau) (acrylic on canvas, 2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

The Doisneau original

and the Doisneau original

Happy Valentine’s day to all and everyone, especially those celebrating the manifestation of an equal right to love and marry, at last.

About these ads
92 Comments Post a comment
  1. maru clavier #

    -three days in advance- Happy Valentine to all.
    -about your version of Doisneau photo- It’s great!
    -regarding the news- It was about time!!

    February 11, 2013
    • Thank you! And look out for more Norm-Valentine posts coming soon!

      February 12, 2013
  2. Your artwork is tremendous! And I loved the article. Write on! And paint on.

    February 13, 2013
    • Thank you! Massively appreciate your support and comments :)

      February 14, 2013
  3. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! Interesting perspective to have on this day, but you are right we have come along way in terms of equal rights, although the struggle is still not over! Congrats on being FP and love the artwork! :)

    February 13, 2013
  4. I hope America can follow Britain soon and allow gay marriage everywhere. If not, we’re going to have to concede that Britain is ahead of us.

    February 13, 2013
    • At least we’ll still inhabit the planet.

      February 13, 2013
  5. Thank the Press for Freshly Pressed or I may never have discovered this! Talented in creating words and images.

    February 13, 2013
    • You are so kind thank you! I’m so grateful to freshly pressed for this very reason – it feels great to share my art and my blog with a wider audience.

      February 14, 2013
  6. Seu #

    A marriage is a marriage. Its something very spacial between two people. No matter the genres. I hope the world soon will understand this simple thought.

    February 13, 2013
  7. Have you heard of Tillie Wright and her photography project? I have a feeling you have. She took thousands of photos of Americans who identified as any other than 100% straight. She said people who have someone close to them that are LGBT are more likely to embrace the idea of gay marriage. So by taking the photos, she wanted to help those anti-gay marriage sort of, meet the people ultimately, they were denying that right. My sister came out of the closet this past summer, and although I supported equality/gay marriage before, it’s become very important to me. This is a very important piece, and I will think about it tomorrow.

    February 13, 2013
    • Thank you so much for this comment and for sharing your own experience in your family. Thanks also for introducing me to Tillie Wright – I hadn’t heard of her thus far and will be very interested to explore her work moving forwards.

      February 14, 2013
  8. Beautiful art, even more beautiful sentiment.

    February 13, 2013
  9. Great art.
    Thanks!

    February 13, 2013
  10. What awesome graphics. Love it! Happy Valentines day to all! Thanks for sharing!

    February 13, 2013
  11. It has been legal in Canada since 2004. Yes, I’m bragging – just a little :) Happy Valentine’s to you, too!

    February 13, 2013
    • Haha yes it has taken us rather a long time. We’ve had “civil partnership” for some time, and some people think its just semantics, but finally we’ve placed gay as straight couples on a more equal footing. The term “civil partnership” was still unnecessarily polarising. Valentines wishes to all in Canada!

      February 14, 2013
  12. Valentine’s Day already?! Wow, thanks for the reminder ;) congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    February 13, 2013
  13. Let’s celebrate equality and love. If we are not paying attention to chocolates and all kinds of cute cards, if we do not fall for commercialized celebrations, then at least we can honor LOVE between two people regardless their sexual preference.

    February 13, 2013
    • Agreed – thank you for your comment and great words!

      February 14, 2013
  14. everyone should definitely have the right to celebrate their love…immaterial of who they are and who they choose…a happy valentine’s to all….
    a lovely post, with some amazing pictures.. congratulations on fp!!!

    February 13, 2013
  15. sortaginger #

    I love your pictures, and I love your message. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    February 13, 2013
  16. I was so happy to read that Britain was going to legalize gay marriage. Slowly, the world may be becoming more accepting of love and stability. Hopefully.
    Your art is awesome. You’ve gotten the spirit of the originals, with your own quirky twist to it. What, exactly, are Norms made of?
    Greetings from Maryland, USA

    February 13, 2013
    • Thank you! So happy that you’ve enjoyed the posts! Norms are gelatinous creatures. It isn’t entirely sure what biological structure their body comprises, but it’s a bouncy and flexible material! Norms only have two eyes and one arm – no other defining features, although some occasionally have hair. (And in respect of real life, I always sketch in pen and ink and often paint norms in acrylic!)

      February 14, 2013
      • Thanks for the details. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some out at night around here when the Legislature is in session. I’ll keep a look out for more now.

        February 14, 2013
  17. I love this post and the idea of using Valentine’s Day to celebrate love in all it’s forms. It’s great to read a refreshing take on Valentine’s Day.

    February 13, 2013
  18. christinapil #

    This is great! You have created a very interesting combination ,linking photographs words and Valentines day together – it creates powerful emotions:)

    February 13, 2013
  19. I am glad this had happened too, although I think the timing could be better. Still once the fuss dies down maybe the media and the politicians can carry on as usual. The world will not come to an end!

    Denise
    Love from England

    February 13, 2013
    • Oh I think the fuss was mostly political, but it was, as always, concerning to see such a large number of dissenting MPs, albeit in the minority. Great to have a visit from good old blighty! Thanks for reading.

      February 14, 2013
  20. Bravo to you for the article, awesome that gay relationships are now as accepted as they are… still a LONG way to go however!

    February 13, 2013
    • A long way indeed, but we are hopefully moving in the right direction for good. Thanks so much for your comment and for reading.

      February 14, 2013
      • great read! We all have to keep working together to keep moving in the right direction!

        February 14, 2013
  21. shemovesinherownway91 #

    A great read! Happy Valentine’s Day :D

    http://shemovesinherownway91.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/valentines-day/

    February 14, 2013
  22. How perfect that a whole nation goes the way of love and justice. Here in the U.S., looks like we’ll be finding marital equality one state at a time. Congratulations, UK!!!

    And although I totally agree with your position on the greeting card industry and a heartfelt kiss, I joined the gay team late in life, and I’m now a year and a half lost in first love (at 49-50), and so seek that perfect token. I was out a couple nights ago and found this lovely cookbook of an aphrodisiac sensibility (she loves to cook). Problem: the quotes and beautiful photography serve the hetero market. Perhaps as the UK and a handful of states over here push love inclusion, we’ll find a little more diversity in the marketplace.

    LOVEly post, Norm. Thank you.

    February 14, 2013
    • That’s so true! I hate finding a beautiful valentine’s card design only to find that it depicts the same cliche of man and woman. I suppose I take it for granted now that I can better create my own. But I’m sure, as you say, the market will become more diverse in time. Thank you for your thought-provoking comment.

      February 14, 2013
  23. petit4chocolatier #

    Excellent post! I hope the United States is next :)
    Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

    February 14, 2013
  24. Great post!

    February 14, 2013
  25. I am delighted to have met the Blobbiness-es, and I look forward to reading their story. I like the interpretations of the Doisneau kiss. Happy Valentine’s Day.

    February 14, 2013
  26. Funny, we started off having similar ideas about Valentine’s Day. And coming from a female here who has many gay friends, both male and female, I had to check myself when I realized that my post was about relationships but basically written “to men”. I mean, it’s not that I only view relationships on V.Day between a man and woman, it was more because my lesbian friends who are in relationships don’t seem to have the same issues. Nor do my gay friends, but it seems to be the straight man who has such an issue understanding women. haha… but anyways, this is a wonderful post. :)

    February 14, 2013
  27. Great post, great news, great paintings. Thanks for the UK perspective and the Parisienne paint of view.

    February 14, 2013
  28. Happy valentine’s day! :)

    February 14, 2013
  29. What a great post. Thank you for sharing :) and happy Valentine’s day!

    February 14, 2013
  30. Reblogged this on evrylilearthquake.

    February 14, 2013
  31. Now to get America and Australia to follow England….. which is kind of ironic really…… given that England is generally regarded as the home of the old Victorian spirit of sexual oppression and America is so often seen as the land of equal opportunity……. Ah well….. Great post :)

    February 14, 2013
  32. Reblogged this on JoSaid.

    February 14, 2013
  33. Such a beautiful Message … Thankx a lot for sharing :)

    February 14, 2013
  34. Reblogged this on TEES AND MORE.

    February 14, 2013
  35. Kia #

    Happy Valentines Day!!
    As for the news- It was about time that same-sex marriage was given a green signal
    My personal op- Love abides no boundaries, and sex was never a boundary at all!
    Keep Loving :) <3

    February 14, 2013
  36. What puzzles me greatly, why gay couples want to marry at all? Surely love has nothing to do with marriage for those who reject the thought of God. He had created and instituted marriage in the fist place. No one else can claim to be responsible. All atheists says that there is no God, but they admit that this Universe could not possible appear randomly out of no where. Very Interesting. Gay couples want marriage, but not on God’s terms. Fascinating. I bet all the readers of this blog are glad their parents weren’t gay. They wont be reading this blog.

    February 14, 2013
    • Your comment makes three fundamentally erroneous assumptions. 1. That marriage is the preserve of religion. It is not. Societies have been marrying for years under different sects, creeds, faiths or purely for social reasons. You only need to look at roman history to know that much. 2. That being gay means you cannot have faith – why shouldn’t those who are born gay through no choice of their own chose to be religious? And 3. That gay people cannot be parents. Is a gay woman not a mother of a child she has had through artificial insemination? Are orphans not pleased to be adopted into the home of loving gay parents? Your last comment is just mean. It infers that those who read this and are gay should somehow feel inferior and grateful to their heterosexual parents. Try squaring that level of meanness with your god.

      February 15, 2013
      • I think Jewish history goes way beyond Roman just for the record. Also, I’ve never mentioned religion here. Just concept of God. It is a big debate about ;being born gay’ – don’t even tell me that our society has no influence on the children, even ads before their bedtime include gay concepts. And the last thing. If gay couples intend to have sex naturally why most gay men leak from their behinds with time? The stench in the house is just unbearable, I spent 10 years in Brighton, have a little idea what it is like. Heterosexual couples never have such a problem. You are very kind to call my comments mean. The couple in Brighton during Gay Pride called us Christians The Nazi because we are against their ‘love’. Well, God is love, You don’t know Him, you don’t love, simple as that. People in Sodom& Gomorrah also thought God was on their side. Hmmm…

        February 15, 2013
      • Your comment is abhorrent. The fact that you talk of god’s love in the same paragraph as this horrific ignorant homophobia is a disgrace. You’re an embarrassment to the church and to humanity.

        February 16, 2013
      • Abhorrent to whom? We must FEAR what abhors God, not man. Not that we have to be rude either. But when you have nothing to say, than rudeness is handy. At least you are not about to behead me as they had done to John the Baptist who said: Repent&be baptized. Don’t bother replying, I’m out of here, there are more interesting blogs out there for me to read. What would you know about the love of God, Sir? You are not a believer… I Am.

        February 17, 2013
      • You’re on my blog so I will decide when to reply. But having said that I warmly welcome your decision not to return to this blog. The Daily Norm is no place for ignorant bigots.

        February 17, 2013
      • you always call people names or only when speak the truth?

        February 17, 2013
      • @angelanowak —

        You’ve made your point and expressed your unbelievably ignorant and appalling beliefs. Now I’ll express mine:

        People like you are an embarrassment to straight people and Christians everywhere.

        February 17, 2013
    • Religion aside, there are a lot of good reasons for gay people to want to marry. How about legal reasons? As a heterosexual woman, I can be covered under my husband’s insurance plan. I can have final say in his medical care if he is unable to speak for himself. I have legal rights to alimony or division of assets if (God forbid!) we divorce.

      Most gay couples in the U.S. have none of those rights, and that;s not fair. Two people who love each other and are devoted to one another should have the right to make it legal. Period.

      February 15, 2013
      • I can’t see how God cares whether gay couples marry or not. Another lesbian girl just told me the other day that there are only 7 warnings against homosexuality in the Bible. Apparently, not enough. Well, one would be enough for me.

        February 15, 2013
  37. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    February 14, 2013
  38. Beautiful post! You are so talented!

    February 14, 2013
  39. The vote was a long time coming, better late than never.

    http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/but-enough-of-this-gay-banter/

    For what it’s worth that’s what I wrote on the matter. I also wrote something about Valentine’s Day, but that was more focused on Bruce Willis…

    February 14, 2013
  40. philosophirish #

    Nice piece. I wonder, however, in what sense you mean that marriages of all sorts should be held as valid and ‘equal’. If you mean that, say, homosexual couples should be afforded the same legal validity as their heterosexual counterparts, then I agree wholeheartedly.

    If you also mean that the Christian (or other) churches should somehow be forced to allow homosexual marriages among their congregations, then I disagree. While atheist in inclination and desirous of a more enlightened society, I also know that the relevant religions have nailed their colours to the mast long ago. They don’t want gay marriages and I think that they should be left to their dogmatic ways. Just don’t worship in these churches. Pay no heed to their religious creeds. Leave them to their primitivistic ways.

    There’s an increasing tendency these days to conflate legal libertarianism with a free-for-all attack on church belief systems. A free society should entail the freedom of churches to pursue homophobic and misogynistic agendas, distasteful and all as that may be…

    February 14, 2013
    • You have no need to be concerned on these grounds. The UK gay marriage legislation recognises marriage on a legal and civil footing only. It contains the express exclusion of religious institutions from the marriage unless they themselves choose to opt in and conduct gay marriages. No one is treading on anyone’s toes.

      February 15, 2013
  41. I do feel like I am in a more civilized society, one which allows sentimental couples to be respected equally by society and the state. And yes, they can now all buy into a commercialised day of romance as married couples if they are soppy and daft enough to want to do that. Good luck to all of them, gay or heterosexual.

    February 14, 2013
  42. Love this post :). Happy Vday to all….try to make the love last all year long..

    February 14, 2013
  43. Great post right there! I liked it. If you ever want to know about Ocean Sports and Turism visit our site http://www.surfskiesp.com
    Regards!

    Carlos

    February 14, 2013
  44. Jay #

    Nice read for a V Day…… Keep writing… Happy Valentine’s Day!!

    February 14, 2013
  45. Legal recognitions such as this new benchmark are being heard around the globe (here in Australia we’re beating our politicians over the head with it) and articles like yours normalise the new norm (forgive). Well done (and very well presented)

    February 15, 2013
  46. cute pictures :) <3 <3

    February 15, 2013
  47. Reblogged this on Elliot Claire London.

    February 15, 2013
  48. I think being gay is ok. I dont condemn any gay people at all. I was born heterosexual and they were not. What I mean is that why would gay people offend the Church and governments when they want to vaildate their love? I think if they think they love so much that they cant possibly live without eachother then it’s ok, it’s not prohibited. But why does it seem to me that validating it becomes more important that the person you are marrying? Human rights human rights you might come at me. Marriage is an institute for heterosexual people who want to raise a family. The Church and its views will only have meaning for those who are part of it. Who are living their faith properly. These people who fight again “old fashioned models” are probably the ones whose life is all about this topic. If they are not willing to accept that marriage for them is not an option and they want to act as a heterosexual couple they are on a wrong way, because they are not heterosexuals. On the other hand they have the right to be happy, accepted and joyful. And the best of it to love. If you really want to decrease life to live-marry-die then of course you get angry for not being able to get married. You find everything stupid that kills your life goal. Your life becomes a pursue of people who can fill your intimacy. But if you have already found what to do as a gay person in your life without pretending to want and live the same as others, then you can be truly happy. I do not want to act for example as an old person and march into old people’s home that “hey I have a right to live here” Because I am not an old person. I certainly have the right however to live and find my happiness outside the oldpeople’s home. The Church comes with a package. If you accept that gay marriage is not ok, then you must also accept that you have more to life than just live-marry-die. If you dont then you can still be a gay person wanting to get married. It is not for me to judge. I think there’s more to life even if you can have the most awesome relationship in the whole world. If the marriage and the love is your goal let that be provided to you but why to expect that an institution supports you. Your marriage will be yours if you really like that emotional side of it not the government’s.

    February 15, 2013
    • Thanks for your message. However, as I have said in response to another comment on this post, it makes assumptions which, in my view, are simply not correct. It assumes that marriage is an institution of the church. It is not. Any average dictionary definition of “marriage” is that it is a social institution under which two people affirm their relationship by way legal OR religious ceremony. In the UK gay marriage will operate as a civil marriage. No religious organisations will be compelled to take part, although some have chosen to. That’s for them to decide. Secondly you assume that gay people cannot themselves have faith and be party to a religious way of life. Why not? Surely if you believe god created people in his own image, and you accept, it seems, that some people are born heterosexual and others not, then those falling in the latter category will also have been created by god that way. Why then shouldn’t they embrace his love and he theirs, and his affirmation of their lives together? Who are the church to doubt role of god in the life of anyone, gay or straight? I am not religious so it is not my concern. But there is no reason why churches who want to conduct gay marriage ceremonies, or gay people who want to embrace the church, should not do so and there is even less reason for the church to oppose or interfere in the right of two persons to create a familial union which is founded on a civil and legal footing.

      February 15, 2013
      • Thanks for the response. Marriage has become a civil and legal process throughout the centuries. However it was taken from religious tradition and put under governmental influence. During those times they didnt look at sexual relationships beetwen same sex because they wanted to hurt the feelings of gay people only it didnt seem to have much sense to settle a family without sexual roles. As sexual activities are required to have children sexual roles have to be distinguished in order to have a child raised in his/her own. The function of any social institution is to provide life to create the future society. Its up to them whether this fills this requierment. This is a barking over the fundemental rights but marriage is a social institute not a human right as the dictionary says.
        You are right that not much should be done against people who want to get together on a civil and legal footing. It is completely their right to do so. If they feel like a family thats up to them.
        My second assumption never assumes that gay people cant attend religious activities, on purpose. If it does so then I am sorry. I think that they have the right to do so because their consience is clear.
        God created man in his own image means that given the circumstances he or she is free to decide for the better or the worse. It also means that we can be creative and not animal-like and I am not assuming here that gay people are animal like. We needed Scriptures for things that we wouldnt know otherwise. I think it is stated that marriage is the basis of life which cannot effectively flow from pairs of men and pairs of women. These days moral freedom is provided which can be used for the better or the worse. It is a very good thing but freedom still doesnt mean that everything has to be done which can be. I hope all gay people find the best way for themselves.

        February 19, 2013
  49. How cute. I really admire those artworks.
    =)

    BTW, I’m new here at wordpress. This is my first post. And I’m really glad and excited. Share the love. God bless us all. Happy Valentines

    February 15, 2013
    • Congrats! Have a fantastic blogging life on WordPress!

      February 15, 2013
      • oh. thank you so much. I really hope that I’ll get used to blogging. =)

        February 16, 2013
  50. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY ….. lovely blog

    February 15, 2013
  51. This post is completely attractive. Both in content and imagery. bravo!

    February 16, 2013
  52. Really nice artwork and blog. It’s about time anybody of any colour or creed should be seen as equal.

    I too made a blog about gay marriage, it’s a jokey look at the utter tripe David Jones MP said about gay people the other day.

    http://chameleoncomedian.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/hot-topic-gay-couples-cannot-provide-safe-and-warm-environment-for-children/

    February 17, 2013
  53. Reblogged this on The Basics of Photography and commented:
    I know its a little late, but i wanted to show the example of photos in which have been recreated from the originals. This photographer has recreated a famous painting Le baiser de l’opera as a photograph to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage in London. The British Parliment has just voted by majority to give same-sex couples the right to marry.

    February 19, 2013
  54. Reblogged this on http://www.visa-facile.com and commented:
    Goog blog !

    Visa team
    http://www.visa-facile.com

    December 25, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Valentine’s in Paris – Normy love upon Dali’s Mae West Lips | The Daily Norm
  2. How to Create an App in Minutes Using BlackBerry App Generator … | S60Aplicativos
  3. Valentine’s kiss for equal marriage « topdelhinews1
  4. Valentine’s kiss for equal marriage « laurentheloes
  5. Valentine’s in Paris – Normy pops the ultimate question | The Daily Norm
  6. Valentine’s kiss for equal marriage | AFROBLUSH
  7. Sunday Supplement Valentine’s Special – Engaged in Paris | The Daily Norm
  8. Valentine’s kiss for equal marriage | thecoffeecupmonologues

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,664 other followers

%d bloggers like this: