Janesville Gazette – a local newspaper serving Janesville, Wisconsin – published a defamatory cartoon on its website that mocked a new resolution passed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church that allows clergy to be in committed same-gender relationships.
The cartoon depicts a male couple dressed in street clothes and adorned with piercings kissing and groping in front of an Evangelical Lutheran Church. One man inexplicably wears a sleeveless shirt that reads “Gay Clergy.” A female character shouts, “Get a room” at the men, and a Lutheran priest is illustrated as answering “Here ya go!” The cartoon inappropriately sexualizes LGBT clergy members and undermines significant advances in equality for LGBT Lutheran clergy and their loving and committed same-gender partners.
Phil Soucy, Director of Communications for Lutherans Concerned North America – an organization working for the full inclusion of LGBT Lutherans in the church – contacted the Janesville Gazette and expressed his concern about the cartoon’s offensive nature:
Satire has its purposes and we have thick skins and very tolerant senses of humor. This cartoon is not satire – it is disparaging mockery, well off the point, and that has no place in intelligent discourse on subjects of importance.
Soucy also alerted GLAAD about the cartoon and GLAAD reached out to editors at Janesville Gazette. After we expressed our concern that the cartoon depicts the recent decision to allow gay and lesbian clergy in the Lutheran church in a gratuitous and derogatory manner, Janesville Gazette agreed to remove the content from its website.
GLAAD applauds the Janesville Gazette for its swift response in removing the cartoon from its website and will continue to be a resource for the paper to ensure fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of LGBT people. Updates can be found on GLAADblog.org