At 11:38am on June 18, couples gathered at LUSH cosmetics stores across the nation to put their puckers to work. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples are denied 1,138 of the rights awarded to heterosexual married couples. Unmarried couples are not guaranteed the right to joint parenting, are not granted spousal hospital visitation privileges, and are exempt from federal protections such as social security. To create awareness of this discrepancy, LUSH hosted an event called “Kiss and Tell” and invited the public to their stores to kiss at 11:38 to represent the 1,138 rights that same-sex couples are denied.
At the LUSH store in Valley Fair, store manager Debrah Parker said that the “Kiss and Tell” event has received “nothing but positive responses.” LUSH offered pamphlets detailing the rights denied by the Defense of Marriage Act and encouraged shoppers to sign a postcard to their senator urging them to support the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide all the rights and benefits of marriage to legally married same-sex couples. Said Parker, “We’ve had so many customers who have felt so moved by the event.”
Every year, LUSH campaigns for an ethical cause. Employees are polled for the cause they would like to advocate, and this year the employees chose the Freedom to Marry organization. LUSH released a limited edition bubble bar called the Freedom Foamer (a glittering green mound that makes baths smell like citrus and sparkle like Ke$ha), 100 percent of the proceeds of which will go to the Freedom to Marry organization. “Here at LUSH, we’re all about giving back to the community. It’s not just about sales,” said Parker.
A handful of young women turned up to the LUSH event after receiving an email from Freedom to Marry and hearing about the event on Facebook. For Larisa Burkhead, Kiss and Tell was right up her alley. “It combines two things I’m passionate about: natural beauty and civil rights,” she said.