The Washington Post somehow misses the March for Marriage

by J.C. Derrick
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at 6:39 pm

WASHINGTON—For about 90 minutes Tuesday morning, same-sex marriage advocates—perhaps 2,000 strong—had virtual free rein in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building. A handful of people who drove overnight from Pawtucket, R.I., and demonstrators from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church provided the only opposition to the gay marriage supporters, who held an 8:30 a.m. rally.

But around 10 a.m., the crowd quieted and all eyes turned down the street to see a wall of humanity turning onto the roadway running between the Supreme Court and Capitol buildings: The conservative March for Marriage had arrived. At first only one same-sex marriage advocate tried to stop them, but then more joined in, blocking the marchers path to their destination: the Supreme Court. I was standing next to the commanding security officer when he ordered—more than 20 minutes into the obstruction—officers to form a line between the opposing demonstrators in order to move the march along the closed-off street.

As the throng of marchers inched forward, more gay advocates spilled off the sidewalks to disrupt the march. One man in a pink leotard danced directly in front of the traditional marriage demonstrators to block their way.

Almost an hour into the confrontation, police cleared the street, forcing some of the March for Marriage participants to return the way they came, rather than crossing in front of the Supreme Court to complete the procession.

It’s difficult to declare a clear winner in turnout, but one thing is absolutely certain: Both sides numbered in the thousands. It was, therefore, surprising to pick up today’s Washington Post and read Dana Milbank’s assertion that same-sex marriage advocates crowded “out the few dozen opponents of gay marriage who stood, sullen and surrounded, on the other side” of the street.

Milbank’s error (which was followed at the end of his column with a correction for a previous mistake) could have been cleared up with the Post’s news coverage of the event, but reporter Carol Morello made her own error. She completely ignored the March for Marriage, and wrote, “Judging by the signs they carried, the crowd was overwhelmingly composed of people and groups that support marriage equality.”

The photo running with Morello’s story in the print edition proves her statement false—roughly half the people in it are marching for traditional marriage—but the average reader would not know that, since most of the signs aren’t readable. Morello further confuses her readers when she goes on to quote in her story one person for traditional marriage, one tourist, and 11 same-sex marriage advocates.

To avoid confusion, you can read my report for a recap of the day’s events—and in the photos above and below you can see the “dozens” of people defending traditional marriage yesterday in Washington.

March for Marriage photo gallery


March for Marriage participants make their way from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. (AFP/Getty Image/Photo by Nicholas Kamm)


Traditional marriage proponents demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court. (AFP/Getty Image/Photo by Nicholas Kamm)


Members of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization pray in front of the Supreme Court. (AFP/Getty/Photo Karen Bleier)


Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage (left center) and New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz (right center) lead the March for Marriage. (Photo by J.C. Derrick for WORLD)


A Chinese immigrant woman cries during Tuesday's protest because “people don’t care what Jesus says.” (Photo by J.C. Derrick for WORLD)


March for Marriage participants kneel to pray after gay advocates block their way to the Supreme Court. (Photo by J.C. Derrick for WORLD)


March for Marriage participants walk around gay advocates obstructing their way in front of the Supreme Court. (Photo by J.C. Derrick for WORLD)

Listen to a “Marriage on Trial” report on WORLD’s radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

J.C. Derrick

J.C. is WORLD’s deputy chief content officer and WORLD Radio’s managing editor based in Dallas. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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