South Florida Sun Sentinel Poll: Should Gays, Like, Be Equal And Stuff? Or Do They Just Ruin Everything?

Did the Tribune Co.’s South Florida Sun Sentinel just throw its hat into the “offensive polls about gays” ring? Hoping to increase read feedback and social sharing, the web producers at newspapers often call for additional elements to be added to articles. So this item about Judge Virginia Phillips striking down DADT, and other gay-related lawsuits, was published with a poll asking, “Do you think gay people should have equal rights?” I don’t know, should blacks?

The BBC, CNN, and Univision have all found themselves in trouble for asking stupid questions of web visitors. Now the Sun-Sentinal joins this prestigious group by trying to engage its audience in a discussion about LGBT equality, but instead prompts readers to consider that, hey, it might actually be okay for one class of human beings to be denied certain rights.

And while you can almost picture the eye-rolling going on in the newsroom as the “No” answer was written up (“No. Gay marriage and gay adoption go against every basic value. Gay people openly serving the military will destroy morale. Sorry, but basic human values should be more important than political correctness”), these are among the stupid and unnecessary web pranks that media companies should avoid.

Unless they’re willing to publish the same polls about women, Latinos, and the blind.

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  • Val

    I sincerely don’t understand how this and other similar polls are offensive. The question is legitimate and the answers are fairly tame given some of the rhetoric floating behind those opinions.

    Is the problem in asking the question in the first place? Or am I supposed to be offended that “No” option is offered with explanation? I keep seeing these posts with the explanation that these are offensive and I should be therefore offended, but I think I need someone to explain to me why.

  • Yet Another


    I agree. It’s a poll, not an editorial. Or even a ballot. It’s just asking people’s opinions not making a case one way or the other. Unclench, already.

  • Matt

    Dear Val and Yet Another,

    would you be equally OK with these questions:

    Do you think black people should have equal rights?
    Do you think Jews should have equal rights?

  • Yet Another


    Yes, in a poll. On a ballot, no.

    Yet Another (black, gay, occasional Sun-Sentinel reader)

  • Flipper

    @Matt: Spot on response, my friend. Sure, Val and Yet Another, you can say “well, it’s just a poll,” but really, are these questions that we should even be asking in 2010?

  • Val

    I’m not trying to be contrarian for the sake of. I’m really not. But the comparisons to Jews and blacks just don’t cut it for me. If those questions were to be asked now, they would essentially be asking: “Should Jews/blacks have the equal rights they currently enjoy removed?” Which, to me, is entirely the opposite of the question being asked here: “Should gays be granted equal rights that they do not currently enjoy?” One set of questions (Jews/blacks) is about whether we should take away rights (offensive) and one set of questions is about whether we grant them (inoffensive).

    And wouldn’t we ask these questions in 2010? It’s not like both sides of the question don’t exist anyway, even in our enlightened year of 2010. Why not be open about it?

  • Yet Another


    Obivously, they are. Maybe if more people are compelled to confront their own feelings or partake in a conversation with others, they’d come to support universally equal rights. It’s easy to be bigoted when you don’t have to think about it and arent asked to express it.

    The possible merits of the poll aside, I still don’t find it specifically offensive. But I live in Florida.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Matt: And I’d answer a big fat NO to both!

  • alex

    I live in Fort Lauderdale, so I read the Sun-Sentinel online every day. The editorial board is very liberal. In fact, the featured editorial today (titled “Finally, we are coming a country of equals”) calls for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

    That said, this fairly new online poll always has a conservative bent to it. The questions and available responses usually include back-handed put-downs of liberal stances. My best guess is that they created the polls to either appear less liberal or to appease one of the conservatives on the editorial board.

    Enough back-story. Without question this is an inappropriate poll question.

  • Rob

    Do you think black people should have equal rights? No. Interracial marriage and adoption go against every basic value. Black people serving in the military will destroy morale. Sorry, but basic human values should be more important than political correctness.

    Party like it’s 1939!

  • TampaZeke

    I’m sorry but I DO consider asking whether or not gay, tax paying, law abiding citizens should have equal human and civil rights offensive.

    I’m astounded that a gay person would say that it isn’t offensive because we don’t have the rights.

    Val, would you then not consider such a question about black peoples’ civil rights offensive if it were to be asked in a newspaper in 1960?

Comments are closed.