Image Run with Anti-Gay Marriage Article Leads to Protest

An image of a man and a sheep that accompanied a recent opinion-editorial against gay marriage run in The Daily of the University of Washington led to a campus protest this past Friday (see video of part of the protest here and here).  The student protesters felt the graphic compared gay marriage to bestiality and is indicative of a lingering homophobia that marginalizes the gay community.

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The related article was one side of a point-counterpoint discussing gay marriage in the wake of the passing of California’s Proposition 8 that, as the other piece explained, “stripped homosexual California couples of their right to marry, defining marriage as a union between a man and woman.”

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Image Run With Article

This image has caused an outcry at UW.

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The anti-gay marriage piece, headlined “Gay Marriage? Let’s Stop and Think About This,” uses what editors admit is the “slippery slope” argument that reasons if same-sex couples are granted marriage rights than there is no stopping more exotic unions, including between man and animal.  As it notes: “[T]here are several major problems with legalizing gay marriage.  Once you’ve legalized gay marriage, why not polygamy, incest, bestiality or any other form of union?  If the only criteria is that people love each other, then who says it’s wrong for a 70-year-old man to marry 10 underage girls? “

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In response to the protest, more than 500 online comments, and the formation of a Facebook group called “Students for a Hate Free Daily,” the paper’s editor in chief has declined to apologize.  She said she is happy about the level of dialogue started by the piece and that she would have probably approved a different accompanying image if given a do-over.

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My opinion: The paper absolutely, positively screwed up, but I see no evidence of homophobia or any anti-gay agenda behind the decision to run the image.  The best part about college journalism is also at times the worst: At its core, it is comprised of individuals still learning the ropes.  Sometimes this allows for thinking outside the box and huge bursts of innovation.  At other times, it leads to mistakes like this one.  Simple as that.  Separately, I do give HUGE kudos to The Daily for running an article and video detailing the angry response to the image and piece,  even currently featuring both on the paper’s homepage.

Comments
One Response to “Image Run with Anti-Gay Marriage Article Leads to Protest”
  1. Katie says:

    Here is my problem: What is the issue with “more exotic unions”? Our culture has a very narrowly defined version of love and sexuality. What is truly the problem with polygamy, if all parties understand and want to be in that type of relationship?

    I see this as a case of the author not accepting people who are different from him/her. Basically, he/she cannot accept that not every person is hard-wired for the same defined version of relationships and monogamy. If it doesn’t harm the participants… then really, what is the problem with it?