Andrew Alexander, the Washington Post Ombudsman, has responded to angry readers who could not stomach seeing a photo of two men kissing after they received a marriage license. Washington, DC began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples last week. The photo captured the couple's joy.
Apparently, as a result of the photo, two dozen readers have canceled their subscriptions to the Washington Post. Several others emailed or called the Washington Post to express their discontent.
Naturally, many of the responses are homophobic:
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’s 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."Others, also homophobic, complain that the picture assaulted them and that it should have been embedded more deeply within the paper, rather than on the front page:
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).”Despite the complaints, Alexander says that "[t]he photo deserved to be in newspaper and on its Web site, and it warranted front-page display."
In comments to the ombudsman’s 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.”