Would you cancel your newspaper subscription because of this photo?
You probably wouldn't if you're reading this blog, but some of the Washington Post's readers did not enjoy seeing this controversial (if not fundamentally vulgar and pornographic) photograph on the front page of their daily newspaper.
"Think of the children!" they cried. (Isn't that what they always cry?) "The nation's capitol is the new Sodom!!" was another rallying slogan of intolerance and atavistic morality. "Big, color photos of homosexuals hugging and smooching shows pure contempt for the values of the vast majority of Americans" according to reader "battleground51." [emphasis mine]
Contempt, however, was the furthest thing from the minds of the editors at the Washington Post. Andrew Alexander, the paper's ombudsman, makes the paper's position clear:
Did the Post go too far? Of course not. The photo deserved to be in [the] newspaper and on its Web site, and it warranted front-page display.
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.
I think Shakespeare said it best (doesn't he always?):
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
This tide is in our favor. Bigots beware.