The Washington Post Misses the Mark Again in Its Profile of Anti-LGBT Archbishop Donald Wuerl

Just last month, GLAAD alerted readers to The Washington Post’s one-sided profile of anti-LGBT Bishop Harry Jackson published on November 18.

In response to that article, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios penned a Letter to the Editor that confronted The Washington Post’s bias and challenged the newspaper to set higher standards of fairness in future reporting.

That Letter, however, was not published by The Washington Post, though a Post staff member noted that two other letters that responded to the Bishop Harry Jackson piece were published. (Those letters can be found here and here).

(The text of GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios’s Letter can be found below)

On Tuesday, however, The Washington Post once again published an unfair article by staff writer Michelle Boorstein about the Anti-LGBT Catholic Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl.

Boorstein’s article advanced the misconception that faith communities and LGBT people are incompatible. Boorstein overlooked countless clerics and practicing worshipers who welcome equal protections for their gay and transgender brothers and sisters. Organizations like Clergy United for Marriage Equality – a group of over 200 African-American clergy members who are currently working to achieve marriage equality in Washington, D.C. – and Dignity USA – a national organization that affirms LGBT Catholics across the globe-- could and should have been included in Boorstein’s piece to offer a different perspective to the anti-LGBT stance that Archbishop Wuerl has taken.

The article also omits the personal stories of loving same-sex couples whose families are directly impacted by the pivotal equality legislation that is advancing in the nation’s capitol.

GLAAD urges you to contact The Washington Post’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, and express your concern about the Post’s unfair articles on LGBT people and marriage protections for committed same-sex couples. Tell The Washington Post that loving same-sex couples and their families deserve unbiased and accurate representation in the newspaper so that readers can make fair and informed decisions about the community and its struggle for equality.

Andrew Alexander – Ombudsman, The Washington Post

ombudsman@washpost.com

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Text of GLAAD President Jarret Barrios’s Letter to the Editor regarding Wil Haygood’s Nov. 18 article, “Seeking to Put Asunder”

Wil Haygood Misses the Mark in Profiling Bishop Harry Jackson

Wil Haygood’s profile detailing Bishop Harry Jackson’s opposition to Councilperson David Catania’s bill that would allow committed same-sex couples the right to marry was one-sided and misleading.

The article portrays Jackson as simply an opponent of same-sex marriage and suggests that he is otherwise unconcerned with the gay community. In reality, however, Jackson has a long history of opposition to equal protections for gay and transgender people. It was not long ago, for example, that Jackson spearheaded the “Muzzling the Pulpit” campaign that sought to defeat crucial hate crimes legislation meant to protect gay and transgender Americans from hate-motivated violence.

”Seeking to Put Asunder” not only presents a narrow interpretation of marriage, but also a narrow interpretation of the gospel. To be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender does not mean one cannot also be a person of extraordinary faith. The article omitted voices of gay and transgender African-Americans and African-American clergy who support equal rights for LGBT people. In the D.C. area alone, there are a number of African-American advocates and allies who could have attested to their community’s support for marriage equality. The group Clergy United for Marriage Equality, for instance, has over 200 African-American clerics who are currently working to achieve marriage equality in Washington, D.C. By not adding theses perspectives, Haywood further reinforced the false notion that the African-American community and its churches all share Jackson’s anti-LGBT views.

Haygood’s own bias becomes clear when he writes of gay and transgender people as those who lead “alternative lifestyles.” It should be noted that both The Associated Press and The New York Times have set guidelines that discourage journalists from applying the word ‘lifestyle’ because of its false implication that sexual orientation and gender identity are matters of choice.

The dialogue between the gay and faith communities merits a fair assessment of information, opinion and theological reflection. Instead, Haygood offered the same partisanship that continues to stifle a more informed and rounded conversation.

Jarrett Barrios -- New York, NY

Barrios is the President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and a former Massachusetts state senator.