Everyone seemed to have an opinion when Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend Vita Cammisano after learning he’d been drafted to play for the St. Louis Rams.
Many folks (like us!) were thrilled to see the NFLer share such an important moment in his career with the man he loved, and to feel comfortable enough with his sexuality to show a little PDA in front of a national audience.
Others didn’t appreciate it. Donald Trump said the kiss “looked pretty out there,” and one Texas anchorwoman became so enraged by it that she actually stormed off the set of a morning news program in a fit of rage.
But two men kissing on television is hardly new. Gay people have been swapping spit on TV shows for years.
Check out these 11 other historic small screen lip locks between same-sex couples.
Kerr Smith and Adam Kauffman
It was 2000. Bill Clinton was still in office, Madonna was on the verge of releasing her eighth studio album Music, which would officially establish her as the Queen of Pop, and the W.B.’s teen soap opera Dawson’s Creek was at the apex of its popularity. Jack McPhee, played by Kerr Smith (What ever happened to him, BTW?), was an openly gay senior at Capeside High. He had been flirting with Ethan, played by Adam Kauffman, for several episodes, but the two had yet to kiss. In the season finale, appropriately titled “True Love,” the two locked lips in what was the first passionate gay male smooch aired on network television in the United States. And the world didn’t end.
That Time Conan O’Brien Officiated A Gay Wedding
In 2011, funnyman Conan O’Brien officiated the marriage between his costume designer, Scott Cronick, and Scott’s partner David Gorshein. The wedding, complete with a chuppah and lots and lots of flowers, was aired on Conan’s show and included… a gay kiss.
Roseanne and Mariel Hemingway
It was one of the most epic moments in ’90s sitcom history. Mariel Hemingway planted one on Roseanne’s lips. ABC was so livid that it almost didn’t air the episode, claiming it violated the network’s standards. The kiss, which was viewed by some 30 million people, became such a big deal that it was written about in the New York Times and even has it’s own Wikipedia page.
Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier
Perry and Stier were two of the four plaintiffs who sued over Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state of California in 2008. After winning their case in the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, the women were married on an interior balcony in the San Francisco City Hall on live TV. The crowd went wild as the couple locked lips.
Matthew Rhys and Luke Macfarlane (AKA Kevin and Scotty)
We’re still in mourning over the cancellation of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, otherwise known as “that TV show starring Sally Field.” Every Sunday night after Desperate Housewives we would crack open a bottle of wine and watch the Walkers engage in their weekly squabbles. And, of course, to witness Kevin and Scotty go at it with one another in the bedroom. When they weren’t arguing over Kevin’s mounting workload or Scotty’s lack of direction in life, they were smashing their faces together in some of the steamiest man-on-man love scenes ever aired on primetime.
The Big Gay Grammy Wedding
Earlier this year, 33 couples, many of them gay, were married at the 2014 Grammy Awards during a performance of Macklemore’s song “Same Love.” Queen Latifah officiated the ceremony. And Madonna made a surprise appearance with a slowed down rendition of her classic “Open Your Heart.” The mass wedding, naturally, included several gay kisses caught on camera and witnessed by who knows how many innocent, impressionable, easily-corrupted youth.
Britney Spears and Madonna
Speaking of Madonna, the reigning Queen of Pop shared a steamy french kiss with rising Princess of Pop Britney Spears back in 2003 at the MTV Music Video Awards. After Miley Cyrus assaulted viewers’ eyes and ears with her raunchy 2013 VMA performance, 2003’s kiss seems pretty innocent, but at the time the media had a field day. Today, it remains one of the show’s most iconic moments to date.
Mark Indelicato and Ryan McGinnis
Mark Indelicato and Ryan McGinnis swapped spit on ABC’s Ugly Betty back in 2010, just before the show ended. It was one thing for two men to kiss on TV, but for two teenage boys to kiss was a big deal. The fact that it was a quasi-interracial kiss (Indelicato is part Italian and part Puerto Rican) made it an even bigger deal.
Chris Colfer and Darren Criss
When Chris Colfer and Darren Criss shared a passionate lip lock on Fox’s Glee in 2011, the fans went wild. Antigay conservatives went wild, too, but for entirely different reasons. Their outrage prompted GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios to release a statement saying: “Fair-minded Americans are tuning in by the millions to inclusive shows like Glee and Modern Family because they don’t care whether someone is straight or gay — what they care about is seeing characters and stories they can relate to.” Word.
Ellen and Portia de Rossi
Funny lady Ellen and her wife Portia de Rossi have never been shy about showing PDA for one another. They’ve smooched on camera more times than we can even count. Here they are in 2008 at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Portia kissed Ellen just before the talk show host went up on to give an acceptance speech. Years later, these two still make us go “awwww.”
By the time Jonathan Groff and Russell Tovey got around to making out on HBO’s Looking earlier this year, people were still shocked, but not like they used to be. It wasn’t the kiss that had them talking. It was the story. The romantic tension between Gross and Tovoy’s characters had been mounting for weeks, and fans had been waiting with bated breath to see them finally admit their true feelings for one another. Could it be that, as a society, we’re slowly but surely getting over the taboo factor of two people of the same sex kissing? Signs indicate: A very likely yes.