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Post Ombudsman Defends Marriage Coverage


The Washington Post's ombudsman defended his newspaper's coverage of the recent battle over same-sex marriage in the nation's capital, as some readers say it displays a pro-gay, liberal bias.

The conservative Culture and Media Institute said that after March 3 -- the day marriage licenses started being issued to gay and lesbian couples -- the Post published a combined four pages of coverage and 14 photographs about same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. It also said marriage equality supporters were quoted 10 times more than opponents.

The newspaper also caught some flak when it published a photo of a male couple kissing on the front page March 4. About 27 subscribers canceled their home delivery based on the photo and the paper's coverage.

Andrew Alexander wrote on Sunday that the Post's reporters devoted space to the events because "the issuance of same-sex licenses was historic." He also pointed out that Washington, D.C., has a higher percentage of gay couples than any state, according to the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Alexander also highlighted coverage going back into the beginnings of the marriage equality fight, specifically feature stories on two marriage equality opponents, Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church and the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown. Both profiles drew flak from the LGBT and progressive readers.

While he did admit that the newspaper's coverage was focused on the happier side of things after March 3, Alexander also wrote, "But far from a 'celebration,' coverage also informed same-sex couples that they would not be entitled to numerous federal benefits, that they still must file separate federal tax forms and that most states won't recognize their marriages."

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