SEATTLE - Most of the time, a kiss is just a kiss in the stands at Seattle Mariners games. The crowd hardly pays attention when fans smooch.

But then last week, a lesbian complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making a fan uncomfortable.

The incident has exploded on local TV, on talk radio and in the blogosphere and has touched off a debate over public displays of affection in generally gay-friendly Seattle.

As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said.

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman who said that there were kids in the crowd of 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.

Yesterday, after an internal investigation, the Mariners said in a news release that their seating staff had acted appropriately, and the couple was approached because of their behavior - which included "making out" and "groping" in the stands - and not their sexual orientation. *