The angry public response to a front page photo of a Valentine’s Day gay wedding reflects how far LGBT people still have to go to be accepted in South Africa.
The 15 February edition of the Weekend Post published a photo of Case van der Touw and Shaun Luyt’s Greek style wedding in Port Elizabeth (PE) the day before.
According to the newspaper’s light-hearted report, the Valentine’s Day wedding featured “bare feet, Alfred the ring-bearer dog, and the grooms’ mothers walking them down the aisle.”
The response from readers to the happy couple was far from light-hearted, however. Many slammed the publication on its SMS comment line for highlighting a gay marriage.
Thiu wrote: “Disgusting, and on your front page. And what message does this send to the youth of the country. And homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible!”
Brian commented sarcastically: “Which one will carry the nine-months pregnancy? Bunch of jokers,” while Gary added, “Gay marriage is disgusting and a huge sin.”
Upset said the picture was “absolutely shocking” and asked the Weekend Post if it does “not have any morals.” JG said it was “a pity you could not find a more suitable example to illustrate Valentine’s Day” and described the wedding as “as an unGodly farce.”
EH proclaimed that it was the “the last Weekend Post that I buy” and TN asserted that “this is the lefties way of shoving their perverted views down the throats of the silent majority.”
The newspaper commented on Facebook that it was “surprised by the overwhelmingly negative response” it received. Editor Heather Robertson also defended the inclusion of the photo to readers.
“We chose the picture for the front page because it was aesthetically pleasing and depicted absolute joy, something that is rarely seen these days,” she said.
Robertson added that “it is a sad indictment of society that prejudice against gay marriage blinds many from appreciating the beauty of this picture.”
PE-based LGBT activist Christina Engela said it was “sickening to see how many people (calling themselves ‘Christians’ and abusing their religion as an excuse to bounce up and down on their little soap boxes and direct hatred at other people) have so little good to do with their time.”
Michael Robin Wynne, who alerted Mambaonline to the furore, commented: “I wonder, how many of these people are divorced, because you know what the Bible says about that right? Verse picking makes you look silly wanna- be Christians, so quit doing it.”
One person described the anti-gay comments as reflecting PE’s “small town mentality,” but do you think that these views are widespread in South Africa?