real reporting

WaPo‘s Dave Weigel Called Marriage Equality Opponents ‘Bigots.’ He Should Be Commended

Dave Weigel, the new Washington Post blogger (whose bosses want him and his new co-workers to take aim at brands like Politico), finds himself in a heap of trouble, or whatever, after calling people who don’t believe in marriage equality “bigots.” Which is a silly thing to get upset over, because people who endorse discrimination are, by the very definition of the work, bigots.

No, really. That’s what it means to be a bigot: “one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Conservatives can dress up their defense of “traditional marriage” any way they want to, but it’s folks like Weigel who are guilty of nothing more than practicing journalism by calling shots when they see it.

The backlash against Weigel — hired away from the Washington Independent, where his job was to cover the right-wing — began with this tweet, which was followed by angry folks at Newsbusters, the right-wing version of MediaMatters, followed by the conservative AOL political blog Politics Daily, among others.

“Perhaps Weigel will turn out two decades from now to have been prescient,” writes Matt Lewis at Politics Daily, “but ‘bigot’ is awfully strong language for a person who is making the case for tolerance – and this comment simply reinforced a longstanding view among social conservatives that The Washington Post and most of the rest of the mainstream media are not only implacably opposed to their policy agenda, but personally hostile to them as well.”

Wrong. Wiegel is, this very minute, “prescient.” He is calling out bigotry where he sees it, and he should be commended for doing so. It’s about time reporters begin identifying opposition to same-sex marriage as a religious-based affront to equality. Fifty years ago, maybe we wouldn’t have called interracial marriage opponents “bigots”; today, we would, and should, do exactly that. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE.

Concerned Women for America’s chief Penny Nance — A CAPITAL-B BIGOT — has the audacity to tell a reporter: “If (Weigel) ever tweeted that African-Americans are bigots on this issue he would no longer be employed by The Washington Post. His own arrogance disqualifies him as a serious journalist assigned to covering conservatives . . . for The Washington Post to assign him to cover Concerned Women for America is like assigning a weasel to watch the hen house.” Lady, your own advocating for the destruction of women’s rights disqualifies you to speak on behalf of women, let alone black Americans.

So it’s too bad that Wiegel is now caving — and apologizing for identifying marriage equality opponents.

Over the weekend, I got an e-mail from one of the organizations that campaign against gay marriage. The tone was boastful and celebratory about the push for a same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota. It irritated me enough that I tweeted: “I can empathize with everyone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. In 20 years no one will admit they were part of that.”

That comment offended some people, so I want to do two things. First, I apologize for calling same-sex-marriage opponents “bigots.” I was specifically referring to people who spend their working hours opposing gay marriage, not just people who vote to ban it. But those people aren’t bigots, either.

Second, let me explain what it meant. I’m a bystander in the same-sex marriage debate — I haven’t given to any cause on either side. But in 2006 I did vote against a Virginia same-sex marriage amendment, which passed. I didn’t, and don’t, think social issues should be subjected to votes like that. I don’t support much direct democracy in general — this is a republic, and we shouldn’t throw these kinds of decisions to the electorate at large.

(For what it’s worth, “Weigel’s politics are, as he says, ‘all over the map’: He views himself as a libertarian, though he opposes legal abortion in most cases. He is a registered Republican who voted for Ron Paul in his party’s primary, but says he has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election.”)

Weigel’s employer, the Washington Post, has a growing history of uneasiness with how it portrays bigots. With NOM’s Brian Brown, it ran a fluff piece, and its reporter later acknowledged some regret over its tone. And the paper’s public editor defended a decision to put a photo of two men kissing on its front page, because really, what era do you think we’re living in?

It is Weigel’s job, as an ostensibly objective reporter, to call the facts as he sees them. And if he sees bigotry, he is by all means responsible to identify it in his coverage. We need more journalists like him, willing to identify intolerance, hypocrisy, and outright lies. Like when a White House tells you one thing but does another, that is a lie. And the word “lie” should be printed. Just like the word “bigots,” when used to describe people actively endorsing discrimination, should be used when the definition fits.

And it did.

We’d say “give this man a raise,” but he doesn’t deserve one — unless “doing your job” qualifies.

[photo via]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #bigots #daveweigel #washingtonpost stories and more


  • Wy

    Before you judge Weigel for “caving” and posting an apology, read it again carefully.

  • Lamar

    He sooooo should not have to apologize, there was no apology from Miss California when she stated that gays shouldn’t be able to get married – that was her view and she didn’t show regret or remorse so why the hell should he. People against gay marriage don’t like to be reminded that they are bigots and thats what the backlash is all about. Weigel shouldn’t stop making these people feel guilty and bad about themselves, they deserve it.

  • gaylib

    He is absolutely right, but he is being savaged by even “liberal” columnists. Just further proof that the straight “progressives” really have no clue what our civil rights struggle is about, nor do they care. And in case anyone wonders why our “allies” are so upset at this, it is because that group of bigots includes our very own “fierce advocate”, Barack Obama who doesn’t think gays should marry because “god isn’t in the mix”. Weigel is right on when he labels right wingers and and our president alike as bigots, because they are.

  • Carrie

    He shouldn’t have apologized, he was right! People who do not wish to grant someone a right because of their sexual orientation are bigots! It certainly does it the definition of the word. There are plenty of Christians who support gay marriage, so people using religion as a reason not to support it are just trying to cover up the fact they are bigots by saying they’re religious. Besides, what happened to separation of church and state? You can’t ban gay marriage because the Bible says it’s a sin, that’s not separating church and state. Lamar, you’re right, they should feel bad about themselves and know what they are, because they’re taking away people’s basic human rights, they break my damn heart every day because I want to marry my girlfriend but some bigots that don’t even know me decided I shouldn’t be allowed to. They are always claiming freedom of speech when it comes down to putting down gay marriage, well ya know what, my freedom of speech says, you’re a bunch of bigots using religion as an excuse for your bigotry, it’s a two-way street people.

  • WalkderDC

    The thing that these right wing groups are more terrified of than anything else, is the truth. When they are allowed to dress up their bigotry and call it something else they can pretend that they have different aims. They are bigots. You don’t say that somebody who says that the races should be separated or that somebody shouldn’t be hired because of their race isn’t a racist.

    But again, if the right wing groups are labeled truthfully as bigots, then it makes their pushing of their bigotry more difficult for them. Call out those bigots any time you can. Just like we call out the bigots from the various religeons who try to come on here with phony posts.

  • Cam

    They want to deny a group rights based on who they are. They are bigots.

  • schlukitz

    “If it looks like a bigot, swims like a bigot, and quacks like a bigot, then it probably is a bigot.”

  • Bill

    Since when did it become unfashionable to call a bigot what they are – A BIGOT. Most heterosexual bigots have no problem whatsoever calling a gay man a f*ggot, so why are bigots entitled to respect that a f*ggot is not?

    And for the record, if you advocate for ANYTHING other than 100% across the board equal rights for ALL Americans, you are, in fact, a bigot. If you feel that you are entitled to civil rights that your gay children are not, you are, in fact, a bigot. If you don’t like being labeled a bigot, THEN DON’T BE A BIGOT.

    The way bigots are getting all upset these days at being called bigots makes one wonder why the bigots don’t do something else besides being bigots.

    Bigots, bigots, bigots. There. I said it AGAIN!

    Ultimately, this is just heterosexual douchebaggery at its finest!

  • Gary

    yep, barack obama is a bigot. he’s against gay marriage, after all.

  • Melinda Henneberger

    Hi, Just wanted to correct your description of Politics Daily as we are neither conservative nor a blog, but a news site with many plain ol’ straight news reporters. Our opinion writers, who include David Corn and Jill Lawrence, offer views from across the spectrum. Usually we are accused of the opposite bias, but neither charge is accurate. Thanks, Melinda Henneberger

  • iowaboy46

    i hate pedophiles so guess i am a bigot by the definition presented in the piece. hopefully most people are. and if you are not, then ask yourself why not.

Comments are closed.