Last week, when Washington DC started issuing marriage licenses, the Washington Post printed the picture at the right, of Jeremy Ames and Taka Ariga, happily kissing as they went for their license, on the front page. For non-sadsack wingnuts, it was no big deal, but of course, the knuckledraggers of our society always show themselves at times like these. Here’s a bit of what WaPo ombudsman Andy Anderson had to deal with:
A few of the readers have engaged in rants, often with anti-gay slurs. One called me to complain about “promoting a faggot lifestyle.” Another complained about the photo in an e-mail to the two Post reporters who wrote Thursday’ story about the licenses: “That kind of stuff makes normal people want to throw up. People have kids who are being exposed to this crap. I will be glad when your rag goes out of business. Real men marry women.”
Wrote Lee Miller of Columbia: “I would appreciate it if your cover pictures would not be so disturbing where my kids can see it easily on the kitchen table… please don’t shove this “Gay” business in our face. This is something that should have shown up on an inside page or two (without the picture).”
In comments to the ombudsman’ call-in line (202.334.7582), one reader said, “the picture of two guys kissing makes me cringe.” Another called it “ridiculous,” adding: “Put it on page 10 or page four, put it in the paper, but I do not like it right there where I can’t avoid looking at it.”
Many threatened to cancel their Post subscriptions, and more than two dozen did.
Ah don’ lahke seein’ dem faggot men kissy-kissy in mah mornin’ paper, ah’llbedamned!
So, quite rightly, the ombudsman ended his piece by insulting those readers’ for their ignorance and irrational fear:
News photos capture reality. And the prominent display reflects the historic significance of what was occurring. The recent D.C. Council decision to approve same-sex marriage was the culmination of a decades-long gay rights fight for equality. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the District. The photo of Ames and Ariga kissing simply showed joy that would be exhibited by any couple planning to wed — especially a couple who previously had been denied the legal right to marry.
There was a time, after court-ordered integration, when readers complained about front-page photos of blacks mixing with whites. Today, photo images of same-sex couples capture the same reality of societal change.
Jim Newell at Wonkette picks out the one error in Anderson’s argument, though:
Ha ha, who says these same complainers ever accepted the black/white photographs? ASK “EM ABOUT THOSE, IN 2010.
Touch?©, Jim. You probably should also click that clicky to read Jim’s summary of this same article. I would quote it, but I don’t think I can do that at a dot org, you know?
(Photo credit: Bill O’Leary, The Washington Post)