Shouldn’t I Have This

It’s hard to believe that a wedding magazine would let homophobia get in the way of making a buck, but the editor at Weddings Unlimited Unveiled rejected this ad from photographer Anne Almasy:
weddings_unveiled_ad
The name of the magazine isn’t “Weddings in Depends”, so presumably their demographic is the same young one that supports gay marriage by 2:1, but instead of running this ad, they’re getting shit from Dan Savage on Twitter.

I remember the first time I saw a passionate kiss between two women – it was sometime in the 80’s on a college campus, and two women were making out in front of a auditorium doorway just as a movie was getting out. They went out of their way to make a statement during a time when all same-sex affection was in the closet. Thirty years later, this ad is anything but a statement: it’s just a slice of everyday life, and if you’re too much of a fossil to recognize it, you either need to get to work on your time machine, or find another line of work.

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124 replies
  1. 1
    Tokyokie says:

    Hell, my thought seeing the photo was, “What’s the big deal about this?” But remember that wedding magazines are selling the unachievable “perfect” wedding, a profoundly conservative notion, so of course they’d be disturbed by any image that interferes with that. But what do I know? We threw our wedding together in about four days, and we were married in the reception hall of a joint called Chicken Bites.

  2. 2
    Face says:

    Is this a fringe mag? Never heard of it. Perhaps their geo demo is more Deep South than Mid Atlantic.

  3. 3
    Tokyokie says:

    @Face: A lot of the wedding magazines are regional rather than national because their advertising tends to come from local suppliers.

  4. 4
    cathyx says:

    I’m surprised they have a problem with a photo of women kissing. It’s usually the photos of men kissing that gives them conniptions.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    Also, wedding magazines are mainly vehicles for advertisers– and advertisers tend to be conservative and targeted on particular demographic groups. My free advice to Ms. Almasy would be to find a magazine that has an editorial policy in the current millennium.

  6. 6
    befuggled says:

    I think their target market includes the parents of that young demographic, who will presumably be paying for many of those weddings.

    Not that this excuses it.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Nice irony to that magazine’s title.

  8. 8
    dr. bloor says:

    @befuggled: Parents of the demographic, yes. I’d also be interested in seeing a regional break down of sales.

  9. 9
    elisabeth says:

    Hey, mister! The name of the magazine is Weddings Unveiled according to the photog’s open letter that is available via Dan Savage’s tweet. It is a mighty fine letter, too, and worthy of a read.

    And the photograph is beautiful.

  10. 10
    Ben W says:

    The magazine’s name is Weddings Unveiled. I looked their website and there’s nothing but standard looking wedding industry ads, so I guess this is just fear. Good on Anne for her letter and those that spread it on the web: let companies know that bigotry out of fear will also be exposed, and hopefully the backlash will be worse than if they had just ran the ad. I hope the photographer doesn’t suffer professionally.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    C’mon. Give these guys a break. Wedding magazines are socially important. They are not frivolous things like the navy.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    Photo probably rejected by the same guys who spend their free time watching pr0n in which women do all manner of things to each other.

    Why do repressed white dudes hate love?

  13. 13
    Robin G. says:

    On the plus side, the photographer’s got to be pleased with the free advertising she’s getting. Name recognition without paying the magazine cretins a cent!

  14. 14
    Mandalay says:

    The name of the magazine isn’t “Weddings in Depends”, so presumably their demographic is the same young one that supports gay marriage by 2:1

    Those PAYING for the wedding are often the parents of the happy couple, and if you look at photos of such happy couples in that magazine I suspect the relevant demographic would be wealthy white people in their fifties.

    So the more appropriate question to ask is what is the support for gay marriage in that demographic? I am guessing that the owners of Weddings Unveiled know the answer to that one, and concluded that they would take a big financial hit if they published the photo.

    Expecting that those at the magazine should take a financial hit in support of gay marriage (or “find another line of work”), is just unrealistic.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    @BGinCHI: Why do repressed white dudes hate love?

    They suspect they are missing out on something. They are right. But they are such prisoners of dysfunctional attitudes, they just hate on anything that reminds them of their sad state.

    I need a name for this rather long and clumsy theory, but I’m sure Freud has it covered. It’s like he invented Wingnuts!

  16. 16
    Donut says:

    @Mandalay:

    The wedding is not about who is paying. It’s about the love of the people who are committing to each other.

    Which is more important?

    Frankly, I think the excuse you offer for Weddings Unveiled is unmitigated, craven bullshit.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    @WereBear: I think Penis Envy might do the trick.

  18. 18
    James E. Powell says:

    I have to believe it’s fear of advertisers not fear of parents.

    Although it varies and many industries/markets have already forward, some are really still living in the imagined past. It doesn’t surprise me that wedding business is one of them.

    Also too, this may have been the decision of one or a few people whose decision will soon be reversed or mooted.

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @WereBear: I just suggested P@nis Envy and went into moderation.

    Which also seems pretty Freudian.

  20. 20
    Djur says:

    @Mandalay: A lot of people in that demographic will be paying for their children’s gay weddings, though. We’re talking about older Generation X and the very youngest Baby Boomers, and opposition to same sex marriage isn’t that strong in that group.

    It may have been a business decision. I dunno, maybe this magazine is a big seller in the Bible Belt. But I don’t think it’s as clear cut as all that.

  21. 21
    Ash Can says:

    In this day and age of people getting married later, after they’re out of school and working, ready to settle down, etc., how many parents actually do pay for weddings?

  22. 22
    Mandalay says:

    @Ben W:

    I looked their website and there’s nothing but standard looking wedding industry ads, so I guess this is just fear.

    It’s not fear. It’s money. To publish the photo would probably harm the magazine financially.

    Now it would be great if the magazine had taken a publish-and-be-damned attitude, but to expect it, or demand it, is unrealistic.

    Those who are acting astounded that the magazine would not publish the photo are either very disingenuous or very naive (and Dan Savage is definitely not naive).

  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay:

    Expecting that those at the magazine should take a financial hit in support of gay marriage (or “find another line of work”), is just unrealistic.

    And yet, people find the courage to do the right thing every day.

  24. 24
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    I imagine whoever made the decision probably thought that if they accepted one such ad, other photographers would see it, rush to imitate it, ever more racily, and they’d gain the reputation as where all the gay-wedding* photographers advertise.

    Not saying that’s a smart way to look at it. Quite the opposite. Almasy herself takes apart the whole stupid idea of someone being a “gay-wedding photographer” pretty well. Just saying I suspect this was at least part of the thinking behind rejecting the ad.

    * as opposed to gay wedding photographers without the hyphen, which would denote something completely different

  25. 25
    Shortstop says:

    Just as Mitt enjoys firing people, I enjoy withholding my dollars from bigots. As it happens, I’m not in the market for a wedding, but people who are, and who don’t care for this shit, are going to be visibly not patronizing Weddings Unveiled and its other advertisers. Not, perhaps, to the degree that more cash will be lost by showing respect to same-sex couples than to prejudiced parents and advertisers (especially when Chick-fil-A-type hangers on join the other side). Not yet. But any bets on how that ratio will shake down in five years?

    It is good to have a front seat to, and to be an active part of, a piece of civil rights history unfolding at a smart clip.

  26. 26
    Suzanne says:

    This reminds me of an incident I had while working at an ad agency. We ran ads for some of our clients in Echo, a local LGBT-interest publication. We had a contract with a courier company to deliver items around town when we needed to send physical items. One day, the manager of the courier company came to our office and asked to see me, and he asked why I kept sending couriers to Echo’s office. I said, “Well, we’re an advertising agency. We deliver ad materials.” He wouldn’t let it drop, and he kept pressing as to why we sent things there. He kept saying, “Don’t get me wrong…money’s all green to me” but I gathered that his drivers complained about being in the presence of TEH GHEY and rather than telling them to suck it up, he decided to just ask me to stop sending drivers there.

  27. 27
    Shortstop says:

    And by the way, Lucinda (the songwriter) did a far better job with this song than Mary Chapin-Carpenter or Carpenter-Chapin, but nobody ever seems to have heard LW’s version.

  28. 28
    Shortstop says:

    And by the way, Lucinda (the songwriter) did a far better job with this song than Mary Chapin-Carpenter, but nobody ever seems to have heard LW’s version.

  29. 29
    Mandalay says:

    @Donut:

    The wedding is not about who is paying. It’s about the love of the people who are committing to each other.

    Which is more important?

    To those getting married it is about love. To those financing the wedding it is also about money. To the magazine it is only about money. If you can’t understand that then there is nothing to discuss.

    Frankly, I think the excuse you offer for Weddings Unveiled is unmitigated, craven bullshit.

    It’s neither an “excuse” or “craven”; it’s an explanation.

    Is the whole world supposed to jump just to meet your moral standards? What financial hit are YOU taking in support of gay marriage?

  30. 30
    cmorenc says:

    I’m not very fond of the photo of the two women kissing on the cover, not because of the gay element, or because I’ve got the heebie-jeebies about physical affection or sexuality in geneal, but because bystanders running across such displays in real life (including by hetero couples) strongly tend to feel they’re either intruding on a private moment, or intruded upon by the exhibitionism. The phrase “get a room” comes to mind, a phrase not necessarily at all spoken from squeamishness about sexuality, but rather about respecting privacy and space of others.

  31. 31
    MikeJ says:

    @Mandalay: How many lunch counters went out of business because of integration? If any did, was that a good or bad thing?

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay:

    It’s not fear. It’s money. To publish the photo would probably harm the magazine financially.

    Of course it is fear. It may be the fear of losing money because of fear of the GHEY, but it is fear nevertheless. Also, How would the magazine lose money by taking this ad? Do you think other advertisers would cancel their ads? Would people cancel subscriptions over this?

  33. 33
    Shortstop says:

    @cmorenc: I absolutely cannot imagine someone seeing a photo of two hetero people kissing in a wedding magazine and thinking they’re “intruding on a private moment” or that the couple should “get a room.”

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    @Mandalay: It most definitely IS an excuse. Assuming that this magazine isn’t being marketed solely to evangelical Christians — and there’s no indication that it is — to publish the photo may have cut off some revenue sources, but it would have opened others up. So there’s most likely something besides financial issues involved.

    Yes, to ignore the financial aspect entirely is naive. But to use it, and it alone, to excuse a morally questionable decision is objectionable.

  35. 35
    Robin G. says:

    @Mandalay: But making public mistakes like this is going to prove damaging to the bottom-line in the long-term, or even middle-term. Any fool can look at the societal trendlines and see there’s no financial future in bigotry, but now, thanks to this short-sighted decision, Wedding Unveiled is the Gay-Hating Magazine. And while the more conservative parents might pay for the weddings, the twenty-something brides are the ones buying the magazines — and reading Dan Savage.

    They made a dumbass kneejerk decision, and they’ll pay for it.

  36. 36
    PIGL says:

    @Shortstop: give me what I deserve, ’cause it’s my right.

    Used to cover this at open stages. Great tune.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @cmorenc: It’s a wedding photo. Weddings have kissing. And photos.

  38. 38
    WereBear says:

    @Mandalay: But their metrics are skewed. They are actually making a poor financial decision.

    Sure, back in the day, they would not run such an ad, and no one would know.

    But this is 2013. Everyone who cares has a real good shot at knowing. So the magazine is getting known, but not in a way that sheds a good light on their product.

    They figured they might endanger their business with the bigots, but that is a shrinking market. They have thoroughly pissed off the growing market, which is LBGT couples and the people who love them.

    I’m reminded of how pivotal show business was in helping the cause of racial equality. Because giving black artists a place on the stage put butts in seats.

  39. 39
    Shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Other than the occasional professional bride (by which I mean a woman who makes planning her own wedding an obsession; we’ve all known some), people don’t subscribe to wedding mags; they buy individual issues. In any case, the real money on any publication comes from advertisers, who are in danger of a boycott from lizard brains if this ad runs, and some of whom will threaten to pull their business as a result.

    The question from the mag’s purely business point of view is whether they’ll lose more money from the anti-equality side or the pro-equality side. As I said above, their calculation may or may not prove wrong at this time and we are rapidly approaching the point at which it will definitely prove wrong.

  40. 40
    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    And yet, people find the courage to do the right thing every day.

    But what is the “right thing” in the case of that magazine? If it took a financial hit as a result of posting a gay photo it might have to reduce employee salaries or lay people off, right? Is it still the “right thing” in that scenario?

    It is so easy for folks on the web to be armchair warriors for gay rights, and pontificate about the decision of that company. But how many of those “warriors” have EVER really done a damn thing in support of gay rights? (e.g. Confronted businesses, donated money to gay causes, actively participate in supporting gay candidates, contacted politicians, etc,).

    It is less than a year since Obama changed his position on gay rights, yet folks here are up in arms because a company is unwilling to take a financial hit in support of gay marriage? Where is the real intolerance on this?

  41. 41
    Gex says:

    If they are concerned about losing advertising dollars, maybe they shouldn’t refuse advertisements on the flimsiest of excuses.

    ETA: I don’t know if they’ve noticed, but a lot of major businesses have told haters to fuck off and have had very positive PR responses and support from consumers.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    @Mandalay: What you are saying is that money trumps ethics?

  43. 43
    Ben W says:

    @Mandalay: hi, Mandalay. I purposely wrote just fear, because I think it covers fear both of lost advertising revenue from skittish merchants, and of a conservative media frenzy, and the way those two things are entangled.

    I think that exposing bigoted actions, whatever the rationale for them, as much as possible is a good way to fight back. So good for Anne and her letter. Also, I didn’t read Dan’s tweet as disingenuous, but as bitterly sarcastic. He and others like him are the ones being discriminated against by this type of bigotry, whether we justify it as a business decision or not. I’d personally prefer not to offer them that fig leaf.

  44. 44
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay: I’ve done all the things on that list — repeatedly –and my husband and I are phonebanking for the Illinois marriage equality law twice this week. I also made two posts above acknowledging the reality of what the magazine believes to be the business-line reasons for making this decision. Do I get to throw a couple of moral stones at them now while I jubilate that the financial wisdom of that decision has a short shelf life ahead…if it’s not already over?

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    Is “fakedansavage” the name of Savage’s real Twitter account?

  46. 46
    Mandalay says:

    @Ash Can:

    So there’s most likely something besides financial issues involved.

    You definitely don’t know that, and neither do I, but in the complete absence of evidence to the contrary I am going with Occam’s Razor: their decision was solely a financial one.

    Yes, to ignore the financial aspect entirely is naive. But to use it, and it alone, to excuse a morally questionable decision is objectionable.

    I don’t think it is morally questionable or objectionable if their decision was entirely on financial grounds. In that scenario I view their decision as disappointing but understandable, and to be expected.

    To be clear, you seem to be expecting that the company should publish the photo in support of gay marriage, even if that causes them to take a financial hit, and if they don’t do that their conduct is “morally questionable”, right? (I’m truly not trying to twist your words. I’m just trying to understand your position.)

  47. 47
    Gex says:

    @Ben W: And might I add, that the people who support us but whose actions support the status quo (family that votes Republican, for instance) are particularly hurtful to us. If those people could/would put any effort into changing things, this would go faster. They are the inertia that prevents change. There will always be haters around to be coddled if you want to.

  48. 48
    Donut says:

    @Mandalay:

    Craven is a synonym for cowardly. You can cloak it (excuse it away) in “financial” terms, but that, again, is a bunch of bullshit,

    I work with all kinds of minorities in my business. If I decided to exclude black folks from my company’s services, I would pay for it dearly.

    I don’t take the hit financially because I don’t discriminate in who I take as a customer.

    See how that works?

  49. 49
    eemom says:

    The picture is lovely.

    The wedding industry in general is a grotesque, bloated, money-sucking leech. I expect that its purveyors will be getting on board with marriage equality at the rate it becomes profitable to do so.

  50. 50
    Mandalay says:

    @WereBear:

    What you are saying is that money trumps ethics?

    In the real world (as opposed to the armchair warrior world) that is mostly the case, yes.

    To be clear though, I do not think that that the company behaved unethically. Perhaps it would be more accurate to state that money trumps “principles” rather than “ethics”.

  51. 51
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: It’s the right thing to treat people equally, of course, and if that isn’t already also the right thing to do financially, it soon will be, because people who value equality will stop patronizing that mag now that they’ve proven that they’re either cowards, bigots or incredibly short-sighted.

    Now that the President of the United States has come out in favor of marriage equality, it’s becoming a mainstream idea, which is why that was so important. I’m not sure what to make of your remark on “real intolerance,” but I’ll definitely cop to being intolerant of discrimination.

  52. 52
    Gex says:

    @Mandalay: Therefore we should sit back and accept this instead of push for change.

    This is just how it is folks. Now kindly shut up about wanting better from people.

  53. 53
    Shortstop says:

    @Gex: That’s exactly right. Acknowledging the current reality is worthless if we’re not actively working to change it. The fastest way to shift the equation from “They may lose less money catering to bigots” to “They will definitely lose money catering to bigots” is to put your money and your mouth where your beliefs are.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shortstop: Thanks. I guess I just have trouble imagining why some other advertiser would pull its ads because this ad was published.

    @Mandalay: It isn’t an editorial photo, it is an ad. I don’t think that Gourmet magazine has taken any kind of stance on farm subsidies because it publishes an ad from the American Dairy Association. Why would this be different?

  55. 55

    It’s hard to believe that a wedding magazine would let homophobia get in the way of making a buck

    Why? People act against their material self-interest all the time. Emotional rewards often trump material rewards. ESPECIALLY for assholes.

  56. 56
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I find it interesting that a same sex kiss suggests the intrusion on a private moment. Would the photo of a hetero couple inspire the same explanation of discomfort? I ask in spite of assurances that it doesn’t matter because people happening upon such moments it real life feel squicky. As you mention, it’s pretty well known that weddings have kissing, and photos.

    Long leisurely listen to Soft Cell before retiring, huh?

  57. 57
    Ben W says:

    @Mandalay: the real intolerance is Weddings Unveiled’s bigoted decision to reject a photo of a gay couple when they would have accepted one of a heterosexual couple. Anne and Dan and mistermix’s responses have simply been calling out said intolerance.

  58. 58
    Mandalay says:

    @Robin G.:

    They made a dumbass kneejerk decision, and they’ll pay for it.

    I suspect that you are correct in the long term, but maybe not.

  59. 59
    Shortstop says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yeah, Mandalay, as said before,
    I can buy your comments when they’re strictly about cash, assuming that that ship hasn’t already sailed and that the tipping point hasn’t been reached. But the “real intolerance” comment put my ears up because it implies a a skewed moral judgment along the lines of bible thumpers insisting that LGBT-rights-promoting people are “religiously intolerant.” What’s up with that?

  60. 60
    dmbeaster says:

    Thirty years later, this ad is anything but a statement: it’s just a slice of everyday life, and if you’re too much of a fossil to recognize it, you either need to get to work on your time machine, or find another line of work.

    This is wrong. How much of the nation has legal same sex marriage? Even in those places, I suspect many who recently have come to support it are still squishy about open sexuality of same sex couples.

    The analogy to the civil rights struggle for lacks was accepting full equal rights, but still being uncomfortable with full social acceptance.

    There still are many statements to be made, and pretending otherwise and treating the sea of resistance that still exists as a “fossil” is not going to enhance progress. Also, I would suspect that a commercial institution makes a decision about offending the minority who are still strongly offended by this. Much less trouble typically to avoid heat from a minority than being the leader in breaking new barriers.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Long leisurely listening to Soft Cell before retiring, huh?

    If you get Shortstop started on her evil mash-ups, there will be consequences.

  62. 62
    Shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I haven’t even started on the first album yet. Push me and you’ll find out what I can do with “Janie Jones” and “Garageland.”

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shortstop: Hey, I am the innocent party here.

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    You definitely don’t know that, and neither do I, but in the complete absence of evidence to the contrary I am going with Occam’s Razor: their decision was solely a financial one.

    Why would you assume that? Generally, when somebody acts like a bigot, my first assumption is that they’re doing so because they’re a bigot. The editorial staff of Weddings Unveiled didn’t say they didn’t want to run the ad because they thought it would offend their readers or their other advertisers. They said they didn’t want to run it because they were uncomfortable running an ad with a gay couple. That’s the way bigots act, and it’s reasonable to assume that people who act that way are bigots. It’s the people who are making up rationalizations about offending readers and financial costs who are ignoring Occam’s Razor.

  65. 65
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It may be the fear of losing money because of fear of the GHEY, but it is fear nevertheless.

    It is just an assumption on your part that “fear of the GHEY” is involved. The owner of the magazine might be a lesbian or a Baptist. Who knows?

    Also, How would the magazine lose money by taking this ad? Do you think other advertisers would cancel their ads? Would people cancel subscriptions over this?

    My guess (and nothing more) would be “yes” to both questions. But, as others have suggested, they might be shooting themselves in the foot. They might win in the long term (or even the short term) by taking the ad.

    All I am reasonably sure of is that those who own and run the magazine know far more about that than anyone on this thread.

  66. 66
    eemom says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Long leisurely listen to Soft Cell before retiring, huh?

    Legend. I iz it.

  67. 67
    Ben W says:

    @Shortstop: agreed with you and Betty that the “where is the real intolerance” comment is a pretty big tell. It’s too close to the right-wing dogma that “liberals are the REAL bigots” and isn’t supported by the rest of Mandalay’s “is just the money” arguments: it seems to come out of nowhere.

  68. 68
    Mandalay says:

    @WereBear:

    But their metrics are skewed. They are actually making a poor financial decision.

    You may be right, but I doubt that it is as cut and dried as you suggest. Time will tell.

  69. 69
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay:

    All I am reasonably sure of is that those who own and run the magazine know far more about that than anyone on this thread.

    Well, that shows a blanket blind faith in the judgment and decision-making capabilities of all business leaders that simply isn’t borne out by the statistics on business failures. Nor does it take into account the rapid pace of change in public opinion on this topic and the attendant financial comsequences. The best you can credibly do is make an an argument for why this publication thinks it’s making a financially sound decision. All this other stuff, including the crap about “real intolerance,” is just flailing.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay:

    It may be the fear of losing money because of fear of the GHEY, but it is fear nevertheless.

    Perhaps this sentence was not clear. I was trying to say that the fear on the part of the magazine editors was of losing money due to the fact that others had “fear of the GHEY.” I made no assumptions about their own inner lives.

  71. 71
    Alison says:

    @Mandalay:

    It is so easy for folks on the web to be armchair warriors for gay rights, and pontificate about the decision of that company. But how many of those “warriors” have EVER really done a damn thing in support of gay rights? (e.g. Confronted businesses, donated money to gay causes, actively participate in supporting gay candidates, contacted politicians, etc,)

    For one thing, to assume that no one on this site – with a generally progressive commenter base – has donated to gay rights orgs or did GOTV for LGBT-friendly candidates is just really obtuse.

    Also, sure sounds like you’re assuming none of these “armchair warriors” are themselves LGBT. And you are wrong there too. Maybe you should stop.

  72. 72
    Mandalay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Generally, when somebody acts like a bigot, my first assumption is that they’re doing so because they’re a bigot.

    But I don’t assume that the company is automatically acting like a bigot because it refused the ad. And I do see that it could have refused the ad based solely on viewing the issue from a financial perspective.

    Now for all we know the company might be owned by the KKK, and they ARE bigots, but we don’t know that. It’s one thing to argue that the company was unwise to refuse the ad, but it’s another to go a step further (as you have) and assume bigotry.

    it’s reasonable to assume that people who act that way are bigots

    No it isn’t. That is where you and I must part company. Accusing someone of bigotry is a pretty heavy charge. In the absence of more persuasive evidence, and in the presence of an alternative explanation, I do not assume that they are bigots, and I am surprised to see you write that.

  73. 73
    Mandalay says:

    @Alison:

    For one thing, to assume that no one on this site – with a generally progressive commenter base – has donated to gay rights orgs or did GOTV for LGBT-friendly candidates is just really obtuse.

    Strawman #1!!!

    Also, sure sounds like you’re assuming none of these “armchair warriors” are themselves LGBT. And you are wrong there too.

    Strawman #2!!!

    Maybe you should stop.

    Maybe you should read before you post.

  74. 74
    Mandalay says:

    @Shortstop:

    I’ve done all the things on that list — repeatedly –and my husband and I are phonebanking for the Illinois marriage equality law twice this week. I also made two posts above acknowledging the reality of what the magazine believes to be the business-line reasons for making this decision. Do I get to throw a couple of moral stones at them now

    Excellent. I think you can throw a couple of meteors at whatever/whoever you want for doing all that.

  75. 75
    geg6 says:

    @Mandalay:

    Your argument is pretty ridiculous. They are hurting themselves financially with their bigotry. The only demographic in America which is seeing growth in marriage rates is the gay community. It’s not the heteros, who are marrying later (meaning their parents are rarely paying the bill) or who are bypassing it altogether. And those thirty-something heteros who are marrying and mostly paying for their own weddings aren’t too fond of bigots, regardless of how the bigots rationalize their bigotry. This magazine is cutting its own throat.

  76. 76
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was trying to say that the fear on the part of the magazine editors was of losing money due to the fact that others had “fear of the GHEY.”

    Ah! Yes, I am in total agreement with you on that.

    Most of the posts on this thread (including mine) have involved guessing and speculation, but I think you are on bedrock with that one.

  77. 77
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay: Did you really just accuse someone of strawmanning after you followed up a would-be unemotional insistence that this is only about solid business decisions with a general charge of of lack of meaningful action on the part of critics, followed by melodramatic cries of “You’re the real intolerant ones”? You’re all over the map and just flinging stuff as fast as you can to see what sticks
    This is generally known as trolling.

  78. 78
    Alison says:

    @Mandalay: You said “But how many of those “warriors” have EVER really done a damn thing in support of gay rights” – how is my response a strawman? Should I have said “to assume that *probably* no one…”? Because your statement is clearly indicating you think no one doing this arguing has done any work in support of equality. Tell me how it doesn’t say that.

    As for your second strawman accusation, I was telling you how that statement came across. Not every LGBT person is a big activist, but I doubt there are many who have done nothing whatsoever to support their own rights, so by questioning the level of activism among a group in re: LGBT rights, I don’t think it’s farfetched or a strawman at all to say that sounds like you think that group includes no LGBT people. If that’s NOT what you meant, then you expressed it poorly.

  79. 79
    Shortstop says:

    @Shortstop: apologies for multiple typos. Making a soufflé and feeding the dog. Thank dog I don’t have gum in my mouth.

  80. 80
    Ramalama says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes. fakedansavage is Dan Savage’s official Twitter handle.

  81. 81
    Marcelo says:

    Let’s say that the magazine’s ads are targeted towards parents, etc. who might be nonplussed by seeing it. Fine, whatevs.

    Are we at the point where we can’t allow anyone to be mildly uncomfortable for one second with one ad among many, even if they have an option to turn the page and just look at something else? It’s one ad – one perspective, one moment on half a page. It’s not like this is “The GAY issue” or something.

    When I got married I saw lots of ads for photographers of couples that didn’t look like me and my wife at all – with tattoos, couples with non-white dresses, Aryan Nation poster children with square jaws and beautiful tall families, and I didn’t have an effing conniption because these couples weren’t my style. I was just like “okay, that’s not my thing” and moved on.

    So even if you’re like “lots of people don’t want to see this” my question is why is one ad still one ad too far? Can’t those orthodox parents just turn the page and move the fuck on?

  82. 82
    Mandalay says:

    @geg6:

    Your argument is pretty ridiculous. They are hurting themselves financially with their bigotry.

    [1] I have never argued in any of my posts that the magazine made a wise decision from a financial perspective. But I am arguing that the most likely reason the magazine refused the ad was that it believed that they would be hurt financially.
    [2] Unlike you, I do not assume that they took the decision based on “their bigotry”. We may never know, or it may be shown to be the case in the future, but as things stand neither you nor I can be certain that they are bigots. Calling someone is a bigot a very strong accusation, and I’d need to see more evidence before I did that.
    [3] Neither you nor I know whether the magazine will be hurt financially. Your strong opinion is that it will, but time will tell. My opinion is that it will not be hurt in the short term, but it will have problems in the long term. We could both be wrong. We will see.
    [4] Suppose the owners of the magazine are elderly Evangelists, and sincerely believe that gay marriage is wrong. Do you still think they are “bigots”? In that scenario is “bigot” really the appropriate word to use?

  83. 83
    PIGL says:

    Devil’s advocate:

    Suppose it were a photo of a big fat S&M ghey wedding, in a dungeon, with a leather slave, and other consensual yet unspeakable accoutrements of — let us say “adventurous” — fetishes.

    Do the happy couple have a right to marry? Absolutely.

    Are the wedding snaps suitable for “Modern Bride”…mmmmm not sure about that.

    There’s a line, we all seem to mostly agree that the photo in question is on one side, but society as whole has really not agreed yet on where that line is going to be. I don’t think we need to jump quite so hard on the poor advertising director; yeah, he probably made a mistake, but five years ago, accepting the image would have been an even bigger mistake. These are confusing times for many people, we here are not good judges of what is normal and mainstream, and the targets are moving fast.

    Edit: I am awaiting the arrival of the Punctuation Police.

  84. 84
    Mandalay says:

    @Shortstop:

    you followed up a would-be unemotional insistence that this is only about solid business decisions with a general charge of of lack of meaningful action on the part of critics

    They are not mutually exclusive. I see many posts accusing the magazine of being bigots just because they refused the ad. And I see many posts demanding that the magazine accept the ad even if that causes them financial pain, and that is what caused me to ask one hostile poster “what financial hit are YOU taking in support of gay marriage”?

    Now I know there is at least one poster here who has given up time and money in support of gay rights: me.

    followed by melodramatic cries of “You’re the real intolerant ones”?

    I think it is you being melodramatic. This is what I actually posted, and I stand by it: It is less than a year since Obama changed his position on gay rights, yet folks here are up in arms because a company is unwilling to take a financial hit in support of gay marriage? Where is the real intolerance on this?

  85. 85
    MrSnrub says:

    The magazine has apologized and offered to run the ad. Weddings Unlimited apologizes

  86. 86
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay:

    Suppose the owners of the magazine are elderly Evangelists, and sincerely believe that gay marriage is wrong. Do you still think they are “bigots”? In that scenario is “bigot” really the appropriate word to use?

    Er. sincerity is hardly proof against bigotry. Stormfront sincerely believes that black people are genetically inferior to white people. My next-door neighbor sincerely believes that women are unable to be effective in any positions of authority outside the home. The depth of their earnestness is not the measure by which we judge whether they are bigots. Do you believe that membership in a religious organization should cancel out social accountability for we would generally called bigotry?

  87. 87
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay:

    Suppose the owners of the magazine are elderly Evangelists, and sincerely believe that gay marriage is wrong. Do you still think they are “bigots”? In that scenario is “bigot” really the appropriate word to use?

    Er. sincerity is hardly proof against bigotry. Stormfront sincerely believes that black people are genetically inferior to white people. My next-door neighbor sincerely believes that women are unable to be effective in any positions of authority outside the home. The depth of their earnestness is not the measure by which we judge whether they are bigots.

    Do you believe that membership in a religious organization should cancel out social accountability for we would generally call bigotry?

  88. 88
    burnspbesq says:

    @Shortstop:

    There’s no accounting for taste, but yours sucks. Lucinda Williams is a great songwriter, but she can’t sing worth a damn. Mary Chapin Carpenter can do both So shove your reflexive anti-mainstream posture up your ass.

    And there’s no hyphen. “Chapin” is the middle name on her birth certificate.

  89. 89
    Mandalay says:

    @MrSnrub:

    The magazine has apologized and offered to run the ad. Weddings Unlimited apologizes

    Glory be to God on high. Thread over.

  90. 90
    geg6 says:

    @Shortstop:

    This. Bigotry is bigotry, however sincerely held. And, no, it’s not too strong a word.

    And I see they have backed down, which I commend. As I said above, gay weddings are about the only area of growth in the wedding industry. All my friends and relatives who work in the wedding industryhere in PA are desperate for same-sex marriage to be legalized here. The gay community tends to have a lot more disposable income than your average hetero couple, so they are extremely desirable clients. My former student who djs, my sister the caterer, my childhood friend the florist would kill to get their business.

  91. 91
    Ash Can says:

    @Mandalay: No, I’m saying that for you to excuse bad behavior solely on the grounds of whether it makes or loses money is objectionable.

    Suppose the owners of the magazine are elderly Evangelists, and sincerely believe that gay marriage is wrong. Do you still think they are “bigots”? In that scenario is “bigot” really the appropriate word to use?

    Yes, it is.

  92. 92
    Tokyokie says:

    Here’s the publishers’ statement about reversing their decision:

    Our Apology

    We are Terri and Brooke, the publishers of Weddings Unveiled Magazine. We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to address an important issue that has angered and disappointed many people. We are incredibly sad that same sex marriage is still an issue in our society. When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy’s advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry. You might ask that if we feel that way, then why did we make this decision? Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts.

    We are two women who operate a small business that we care deeply about. We love all weddings. We love all people and would never want to anger, offend or disappoint anyone. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for Anne. We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness. If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it.

    Sincerely,
    Terri and Brooke

  93. 93
    Donut says:

    44 occurrences of “Mandalay” as of my post.

    Well trolled, Mandalay, well trolled.

    @Mandalay:

    Awesome. It’s over when you say it is. Very well trolled.

  94. 94
    Mandalay says:

    @Shortstop:

    Well you kinda ducked my question, but for the record I would not call an elderly Evangelist couple who did not agree with gay marriage “bigots”, any more than I would call a child who could not understand linear algebra “stupid”.

    To me the couple are “misguided” or misinformed”, but they are not “bigots” unless and until they actively oppose gay rights.

    If they have been taught a set of beliefs about gays since childhood, and they have lived moral lives, then who the hell are we to call them “bigots”? It is not that their opinions on gay marriage might be any different to (say) Pat Buchanan or David Duke, but what cause is served by branding them “bigots”? There is a gap in the our language. We need (at least) separate words for activeBigot, passiveBigot and uniformedBigot. Bigotry manifests itself in different ways, some much worse than others.

    For the record, I am white and my mother was born in Virginia in the 1920s, with all the baggage that entailed. I have wrestled with this “bigot”/”racist” issue a lot, and I am very thoughtful and careful about who I call a racist or a bigot. And that is why I was offended by how quick many “progressives” on this board were to brand those at the magazine as bigots without knowing much about the situation at all. It is possible that they are, but it is also possible that they are not, and unless we have solid information either way we should STFU.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @MrSnrub:
    @Tokyokie:

    And hats off to Weddings Unlimited.

  96. 96
    Mandalay says:

    @Donut:

    Well trolled, Mandalay

    Thanks, but I am not trolling at all. Several issues arose in the original FP and subsequent posts that I care about, and were thought- provoking (though none of yours were).

  97. 97
    Donut says:

    @Tokyokie:

    Gee, do you think they are now more worried about losing business from a large number of people across the spectrum, who think LGBT discrimination should not be tolerated, or are they still worried about offending a small numbers of homophobes who possibly might pay for a wedding, maybe, one day…?

    Often times, and not surprisingly to anyone who runs a damn business, doing the right thing and doing the most financially sound business practice can match up pretty damn easily.

    Mandalay, this just proves your argument was total crap. This business decision was to exclude someone from the customer base because someone else might be offended. It makes no sense and is completely indefensible, and small-minded and short-sighted. The best financial decision was also a pretty easy ethical decision, all along, as their statement proves.

  98. 98
    Donut says:

    @Mandalay:

    Whatever.

  99. 99
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay:

    I am very thoughtful and careful about who I call a racist or a bigot

    So careful, in fact, that the mere presence of superannuation, membership in a religious group or a deep personal conviction is sufficient to rule out bigotry in your view. Gracious, who the hell are we to assume that anyone is ever responsible for her or his opinions, what with all these mitigating circumstances all over the place?

    I think we have a pretty good read on you now based on your body of comments in this thread. It’s not the persona you meant to project, but like you said, Occam’s Razor, right?

  100. 100
    Mandalay says:

    @Shortstop:

    Gracious, who the hell are we to assume that anyone is ever responsible for her or his opinions, what with all these mitigating circumstances all over the place?

    Posters here were so eager to attack people as bigots without knowing anything about them.

    Having read the apology from the magazine, do you think the owners are “bigots”?

  101. 101
    different-church-lady says:

    To paraphrase the Queen of Hearts, “Conclusion first, examination afterwards.”

    Two people made the wrong decision out of fear, then they corrected it.

    Someone above said “thread over”. But we could have thread part II: why are so many supposedly liberal minded people always willing to conclude the worst without sufficient evidence?

    Could it possibly be that they’re… outrage junkies? Naw… I don’t have enough evidence to conclude that…

  102. 102
    Shortstop says:

    @Mandalay: No, Mistress of Straw Women, I don’t think they are. Your hypothetical highly sincere aged Baptist folks — did you forget about them as soon as this? — absolutely are.

    But you knew that. Your trolling is highly ineffective, but perhaps we can blame your
    stumbling on your demographics, religious beliefs or unique world view? It just couldn’t be an actual deficiency on your part. I’m very thoughtful and careful about whom I call dishonest and inept.

    Lunch is ready. It looks great!

  103. 103
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: It sounds like the publishers themselves are now admitting that it was a chickenshit decision. Good for them for owning up to the mistake, apologizing for it and offering to rectify it.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tokyokie: Good for them. Not only was it a good decision, but that is the way to apologize. Admit the fault, say you are sorry, and try to make amends. Well done.

  105. 105
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    why are so many supposedly liberal minded people always willing to conclude the worst without sufficient evidence?

    Great question. There are at least a dozen posters on this thread with recent first-hand experience of that, but I doubt if any will be brave enough to answer your question.

    If Freddie was still here he might suggest that it is something to do with having a manichean world view…

  106. 106
    MattR says:

    Personally, I find bigotry to be less offensive than using financial fears as a reason for making this decision. But I don’t want to pick on the owners too much since letting fear of conservative outrage guide their actions is far too common from supposed liberals everywhere.

  107. 107

    @Mandalay:

    I nominate this entry for “Worst Comment of the Year.”

  108. 108
    geg6 says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Bullshit. They made a decision to pander to bigots (a decision they, rightfully, have sincerely apologized for). Anyone who panders to bigots is engaging in that bigotry themselves even if they did not intend it. Actions speak louder than words, as these two women have learned to their regret. That they recognize it and tendered an actual apology (and not one of those “I’m sorry you’re offended” ones), however is to their credit.

  109. 109
    Ash Can says:

    @Mandalay:

    I am very thoughtful and careful about who I call a racist or a bigot.

    You don’t have to be. There are dictionary definitions of these words that tell you who qualifies as such and who doesn’t. Yes, you have to pay attention to a person’s words and actions and know the definitions before you can make decisions on the applicability of the words, but that’s the way definitions work.

    The editors of this magazine did something that indicated potential bigotry on their part. To their great credit, they proved that this was not the case. But it was exactly the outcry regarding their perceived bigotry that brought about their self-exoneration. If everyone had simply shrugged and said, “Oh well, that’s business,” nothing would have changed and there would have been no follow-up. And we would have continued to accuse them here of being bigots based on their behavior.

    We do well to call out bigotry whenever and wherever we find it, and if it turns out that people we suspect of bigotry are innocent — which often comes in reply to the initial accusation — we’re happy to be proven wrong. But just like we don’t get to make up our own facts, we don’t get to make up our own definitions either. And if someone fits a definition, then that word applies.

  110. 110
    Maude says:

    @geg6:
    Pandering is condoning. At least these two women saw the error of their ways.
    The pic looks like a prom pic.
    Bet the editor that rejected it is in hot water.

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    @geg6: Which brings me to my second thought: once the outrage has been experienced, the outrage must be defended.

    So, now that you’ve managed to both condemn and commend them within the same paragraph, are they bigots or not? Because that’s the charge being leveled by some.

  112. 112
    Tokyokie says:

    @Donut: I just think they made an ill-considered decision during the heat of a crisis, and upon reflection, realized that they’d made the wrong one. They’re human. They’re not perfect. And nobody should expect them, or anybody else, to be.

  113. 113
    Sgaile-beairt says:

    maude — it wasn’t editorial it was advertising that rejected it, HUGE difference in media world…

  114. 114
    Maude says:

    @Sgaile-beairt:
    oops.
    Bet they are unhappy about now. It was an ad editor, I guess. Thx

  115. 115
    PIGL says:

    @burnspbesq: you know nothing of singing or performance or musicianship.

    And your offensive addendum was totally uncalled for.

    In the stakes between and Corner Stone, you are winning today, so far. Keep up the excellent work.

  116. 116
    PopeRatzo says:

    I can’t imagine anyone objecting to the sight of two women kissing.

    It comes right before “cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels” on my list of favorite things.

  117. 117
    Shortstop says:

    @PIGL: I had not seen Frank Burns’ latest outburst until I saw your response.

    Burns, “reflexive anti-mainstream posture”? “Shove it up my ass”? Because I prefer one performer’s version of a song to another and said so simply?

    Not for the first time, I join many others here in wondering why you have so little control of your emotions, especially of your anger impulses,
    and respond inappropriately and out of all context at all sorts of things. So odd that you used the word “reflexive,” because your reflexes more often than not resemble a teenager’s…and yet you’re in your 60s or 70s. Have you considered getting a neurological workup?

  118. 118
    Cerberus says:

    @Mandalay:

    Yeah, the way “cold calculated business sense” just so happens to extend, enshrine, and perpetuate bigotry when it’s just “trying to make financial sense” doesn’t actually make it right.

    Right now, my employer is trying to fire me for being transgender even though that is illegal in my state (they’re being very careful to show their work on a bizarre “paper trail” to defend themselves) because they fear that who I am might decrease sales or turn off donors and it just makes financial sense.

    And to do this they are full on bullying me, trying to make me feel isolated, inadequate at my job, an inherent disappointed, impotent to fight back, and worthless as a human being. In short, they are not only trying to fire me, but drive me into depression and suicidal ideation, all because it makes financial sense to get rid of me and they want to get rid of me in a way in which they won’t fall under the financial risk of being sued.

    This sort of thing nor the bigotry of this magazine is excused by those “financial reasons” because the real world effect of their bigotries make the systems of oppression worse.

    And our only recourse on the ground is to call them out on this. Make the financial penalties of bigotry felt to them, change that calculus so it is no longer favorable to commit bigotry in a way that happens to reinforce the attitudes of the boardroom.

    Otherwise we accept a system where there are no other choices than an unending living hell or complete anarcho-Marxist revolution.

    And no one wants to live in that world.

  119. 119
    slightly_peeved says:

    A large number of parents pay for weddings, though that number is decreasing. However, in my experience, the couple pick the photographer. The idea that paying gives the parents the right to dictate things like the photographer would have been disputed pretty strongly by all the brides I’ve known.

  120. 120
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @different-church-lady: When people behave in a bigoted manner, the effect is the same, no matter what is in their heart of hearts. That’s why no one gives a shit that deep down, George Wallace didn’t believe the crap he spewed. Pure thoughts don’t make a damn bit of difference if your actions are rotten.

    These people changed their behavior. People can applaud the change without condoning the previous behavior. In fact, that’s sort of the point of applauding the change. Understand yet, or are you still ironically condemning sanctimoniousness in other without confronting the massive California fucking Redwood in your own eye?

  121. 121
    Cerberus says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    There’s also the odd assumption that parents aren’t going to be parents of same-sex couples who want to get married or who are fiercly behind gay rights. I know my mom has taken to the streets on behalf of gay rights and wouldn’t support this crap and I know of a number of other older straight allies who came out to man phone banks and the like.

  122. 122
    RaflW says:

    So, they’ve apologized. And a for-real apology, not some “if we offended…”

    We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts. We are two women who operate a small business that we care deeply about. We love all weddings. We love all people and would never want to anger, offend or disappoint anyone. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for Anne. We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness. If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it.

    FYI Savage tweeted their apology about 3pm Eastern, so there’s that, too. People fuck up. Some of them react with class, like these ladies.

  123. 123
    Maude says:

    @slightly_peeved:
    Weddings can cost a ton of money. There are wedding places that arrange everything and it’s a package deal.

  124. 124
    JR says:

    The girl on the right is a friend of mine from high school. We shared a music stand for two years in orchestra.

    Good thing Weddings Unveiled reversed their decision. Or else shit would have been on.

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