TheWashington Post stands by its decision to publish a front-page photo of a gay couple kissing that generated a high volume of complaints from readers.
The newspaper published the photo online and in print last week. It captures Jeremy Ames and Taka Ariga kissing outside D.C. Superior Court on the first day same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses in the District. Weddings began yesterday.
According to Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, reader reaction to the photo was swift, ongoing, and mostly negative.
“A few of the readers have engaged in rants, often with anti-gay slurs,” wrote Alexander. “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.’ ”
Alexander stands by the newspaper’s decision to publish the photo.
“Did the Post go too far? Of course not,” he wrote. “The photo deserved to be in newspaper and on its Web site, and it warranted front-page display.”
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the watchdog group for media coverage of LGBT issues, applauded TheWashington Post for publishing the photo.
“Kudos to WaPo for publishing the photo on its front page—and defending the decision,” wrote the NLGJA board member Oriol Gutierrez on the group’s RE: ACT blog.