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Photos Of Gay Couples Kissing In Churches Gets NYC Show After Vatican Disapproval


When Rome’s Galleria L'Opera tried to artist Gonzalo Orquin’s photographs of gay, lesbian and straight couples kissing in Rome’s Catholic churches, the Vatican threatened legal action and had the showing stopped (the opera cited “security reasons”).

But it looks like those photos will still get a showing in Manhattan’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on April 30.

The New York Daily News reports:

The photos were taken without permission from the churches involved. A Vatican spokesman claimed the photos could “harm the religious sentiment of the faithful.”

Another exhibition from Orquin — this time showing a woman dressed like a priest — was later vandalized.

But in New York, Orquin’s work is receiving a warm welcome. It will be featured in the SoHo-based museum’s window gallery and will be visible to passersby on the street.

Leslie-Lohman Museum Director Hunter O’Hanian said of Orquin’s church photos, “These were very beautiful, simple portraits of same-sex couples in a space that they held sacred and important to them. I hope visitors [who see them] leave with a wonderful feeling of compassion and humanity.”

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  1. Right after my husband and I were married in SF in 2004 right before prop 8 we went to Italy .. During our tour through St Peters Basilica we stopped in front of the alter of St Peter and one said a word. We figured if God disapproved of our marriage he would have done something No lighting strikes, no roof caving in, no escort out by Swiss guard....

    Posted by: MAP | Apr 16, 2014 6:57:32 PM

  2. "compassion & humanity"...I don't think so.
    What is all that crap in the background anyway...Oh, dogma as art...I get it. I sure do appreciate catholic art's so, so, so...intricate...yeah, that's the word for it. Looks like Elton & Elvis did the place over with way too much money to spend on gold leaf and gawd.

    Posted by: Paul B. | Apr 16, 2014 7:27:53 PM

  3. Yet another example of the kind of excess and deliberately obnoxious behavior that causes so many people to hate gays and is contributing to the backlash against us.

    No HETEROSEXUALS would be so disrespectful as to make out in a church in such a manner, even though their actions would not be against Catholic teachings.

    It is a matter of common decency to refrain from such behavior--just as it is not to expose one's buttocks in public, as some do at Pride events.

    The trashy image of gay men is just reinforced by these actions--and I don't blame people who turn against us because of them, sad to say.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 16, 2014 7:32:03 PM

  4. Rick, did you miss the part of the article where it said that the couples photographed kissing in the Catholic churches were gay, lesbian and STRAIGHT?

    So much for your, "No HETEROSEXUALS would be so disrespectful as to make out in a church in such a manner."

    Posted by: Daniel Villarreal | Apr 16, 2014 7:44:52 PM

  5. Daniel - Y'know the Galleria L'Opera isn't actually an opera house, right? It's an art gallery. So what you probably meant to say was "the GALLERY cited security reasons."

    Posted by: Buster | Apr 16, 2014 7:48:30 PM

  6. @DANIEL VILLAREAL The museum director only referred to same-sex couples, so I assume the reference to straight couples was either incorrect or they just threw one straight couple in there as a token to try to make it look like something other than what it was--gay trashiness and disrespect.


    Posted by: Rick | Apr 16, 2014 7:52:56 PM

  7. Last year I attended the wedding of my best friend and his wife in Budapest (he's American, she's Hungarian) that took place in a big Catholic church. I was actually surprised at how conservative the ceremony was (as was my friend). There was no "you may now kiss the bride" as I'm so used to, but the priest walked the couple out of the church, between them, and once out the door he joined them and they could kiss. None of those in attendance actually saw the kiss, except the photographer. It's hard for me to comprehend how a simple kiss could be so offensive to an non-existent deity.

    Posted by: Craig | Apr 16, 2014 7:57:12 PM

  8. The kiss is only offensive to certain people with personal issues from misreading the Bible or ignorance. Other Christian congregations have no problem with it and take it for what it is, a celebration of living.

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | Apr 16, 2014 8:49:23 PM

  9. I'm more offended about what they are wearing.

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | Apr 16, 2014 8:50:05 PM

  10. It appears that many in the gay community have forgotten what it means to be "polite guests," which means respecting the wishes of the one who is hosting you. If we can't respect the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church in whose church buildings these pictures were taken, then STAY OUT. It's simple common courtesy. Well, then again, I guess it's not as 'common' as it used to be... Nor, does it appear, is it as 'simple' as it used to be, either. Very sad.

    Posted by: Jon | Apr 16, 2014 9:04:12 PM

  11. Rick:
    You are not "us". I am not "us". Someone who is gay is automatically "us" is nonsense.
    Someone who can't make the distinction is stupid in the first place and hates gays no matter what. They can always find a reason to do so. Like for example citing the Bible.
    How about some backlash against Rick whenever a bomb goes off at an abortion clinic?

    Posted by: simon | Apr 16, 2014 9:16:54 PM

  12. @ JON - Being polite IS very important. But not when you're dealing with an enemy.

    I think there's little need to be "a polite guest" when you are in facilities owned and operated by an organization that, for centuries, has condemned you and actively worked to undermine your rights and place in society throughout the world. Frankly, the Roman Catholic church should consider itself lucky that it hasn't suffered more tangible damage to its vast real estate holdings as a result of its insulting and dangerous behavior.

    What scares me is the number of blinkered people like you, politely thanking the SS troops for opening the door to the cattle car for you.

    Posted by: Buster | Apr 16, 2014 9:23:28 PM

  13. the only person who'd be offended is someone who hates gays more than they love love :)

    wouldn't have offended any of my Christian friends, nor the folks of the Christian congregation i grew up in.

    in fact, the only people who'd be "offended" by it are such worthless individuals that their opinion should be summarily disregarded.

    and to any gay people in here who think the kisses were "disrespectful" - how's it going be a cowardly doormat in life? i, myself, wouldn't know.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 16, 2014 9:33:52 PM

  14. I love it because it trolls both anti-gay religious people, as well as anti-religion gay people. Each of these groups take themselves way too seriously.

    Posted by: bernard | Apr 16, 2014 10:26:23 PM

  15. "@JON-Being polite IS very important. But not when your're dealing with an enemy."

    Oh, good God, you idiot. We finally have a Pope who seems inclined to begin the process of moving the Church away from homophobia......and these idiots engage in this kind of behavior.

    What do you think Pope Francis thought when he saw this? Do you think it inclined him to have a favorable opinion of us and try to make a place for us in the church?

    What is it with you people? Some of you have become so bitter and so extreme in your political views that you have lost sight of the fact that this is a PROCESS and you don't bring about change by branding people ENEIMIES rather than seeing them as potential friends who simply need to be brought around.

    You have lost sight of the forest by getting lost in the trees.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 16, 2014 10:28:59 PM

  16. RICK - are you going to star commenting from a place of visiblity or are you still a worthless coward with no testicles? :)

    just curious.

    *elegant curtsy*

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 16, 2014 10:42:32 PM

  17. You know what else could “harm the religious sentiment of the faithful?” Many of the church's teachings on human sexuality.

    And art is supposed to be provocative. That's why God gave it to us.

    Posted by: pete | Apr 16, 2014 11:07:37 PM

  18. "And art is supposed to be provocative. That's why God gave it to us"

    Two trashy men being photographed kissing in a church constitutes "art"? Only if you consider ANYTHING to be which case the entire concept loses its meaning.

    This is not art. It is nothing but an attempt to make a political statement in the coarsest way possible....and it will only serve to alienate the public and any potential friends within the Church who might have been inclined to bring about change.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 16, 2014 11:14:23 PM

  19. I personally think these photos were designed to be provocative rather than artistic. If you are gay, why on Earth would you want to be associated with a church that condemns you?

    The Church doesn't love you. Get over it.

    Posted by: jason | Apr 16, 2014 11:19:06 PM

  20. @ Buster - SS? Cattle cars? You've got to be joking. Just because the Roman Catholic Church believes all sexual activity outside of one man-one woman marriage is sin does NOT make them Nazis who want to load up gay people by the trainloads and haul them off to gas and incinerate them. Do you realize how vapid that statement from you sounds?

    If they're the modern-day equivalent of the S.S. and Nazi Germany death camp folk, then you might as well be out there advocating for the bombing and torching of church buildings. And putting priests and the pope on war crime trials. That's what we did to the Nazis...we bombed their cities and factories, shot them on the battlefield, and put their leaders on war crime trials to either rot in prison or be hanged.

    If you don't mean it, then don't say such inflamatory things. And if you do mean it, then God help us all.

    Posted by: Jon | Apr 17, 2014 12:12:47 AM

  21. "What do you think Pope Francis thought when he saw this? Do you think it inclined him to have a favorable opinion of us and try to make a place for us in the church?"
    Rick, are you trying to be funny?
    It is not the tenth century any more. Why you care so much about what the Pope thinks?
    I personally don't give a fig what that man in a dress thinks.
    For your information, it is the Church which is begging communist China to give them a place there. One can't get lower than that.

    Posted by: simon | Apr 17, 2014 1:32:21 AM

  22. One of the more worthless comment threads at TR. All the pearl clutching and getting the vapors over this....Pussy Riot did their thing in a church when the public was there, following the tradition of Queer Nation protesters in NYC. That was all OK and points were made. This quieter stuff also. And of course the old religious art and spaces are pretty awesome in their own right.

    And those particular guys are dressed in perfectly fine practical everyday clothes for a cool day. Black leather bomber and a hoodie? Classic gay and other city guys attire. Dressing in tuxes or something would be a different statement.

    Posted by: emjayay | Apr 17, 2014 1:32:33 AM

  23. One needs to add that recent UN report about child abuse by priests give China one more reason to reject them for reason of the "safety of children".

    Posted by: simon | Apr 17, 2014 1:39:57 AM

  24. After UN issued a report about child abuse, the Vatican rejected the report saying the "gay mafia" was behind it. You see, Vatican is actually at our mercy. Even they themselves admitted it.

    Posted by: simon | Apr 17, 2014 1:48:39 AM

  25. Breathtakingly beautiful. Wish I could attend.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Apr 17, 2014 5:25:01 AM

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