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With Appeal contrib Jip Chonson too busy preparing for his BFFs to come to town, I guess I’ll have to take up the slack today when it comes to keeping an eye on the Chronicle opinion-pages coverage of gay equality. Despite their fabulous new color printing presses, it seems like their rainbow flag lost a bit of color this week. Read on, and see if you agree!

Today there’s this unbylined (because it’s journalistic tradition! But BLOGS ARE BAD) missive from the Chronicle’s editorial board, “Reinstate Prop. 8 backer on Oakland panel,” which we assume is a reaction to the reactions to Chip Johnson’s Chron column on the same subject.

This page has long supported marriage equality – and opposed Proposition 8 as a matter of civil rights. In the political arena, it is a battle for hearts and minds. Petty vengeance is no way to win hearts and minds.

And it’s true — the Chron has been a supporter of marriage equality.

But, it is interesting how this slowly seems to be changing, and we’re not just talking about Johnson’s recent column (and their subsequent defense)!

For example, we also have Chronicle editorial board member (and, as she described herself when she introduced herself to me “token conservative”) Debra J. Saunders who worries about the “unintended consequences” of a Prop 8 overturn on Sunday:

My fear: That someday some judge will recognize polygamous marriages lest a family in Berkeley feel unhappy or because anti-polygamy laws discriminate on the basis of religion. If the no-on-Prop. 8 argument prevails, why not?

Hey! You know who else is worried about that? San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, who led a rally (the video tape of which was used in court by those working to overturn the marriage ban) in which a pastor announced:

“the polygamists are waiting in the wings, because if a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman, the polygamists are going to use that exact same argument and they probably are going to win.”

Who knows, maybe the Chron’s just having a tough week. Or maybe this is a reflection of a more “conservative” direction for the Paper That Will Not Die? We’ll keep watching, and Jip will, too.

Unlike many of our respected friends in the San Francisco news space, The San Francisco Appeal does not practice advocacy journalism. We have no dogs in fights, and do our best to report as objectively as we can without being totally boring and cheesy. However, we are, indeed “anti Prop-8 cheerleaders.” This is because we are not fucking bigots!

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Greg Dewar

    Clearly the Chronicle sees SOME benefit in being “sorta anti gay” as a way to boost circulation in the ‘burbs. They already see a benefit in having a suburban columnist write about urban issues, and I guess some brainaic at Hearst is figuring they’ll be the anti SF SF paper.

    Which is fine, but then they wonder why it is people don’t bother buying it.

  • Burgos

    There’s a word in Spanish for what the Chronicle is doing: pancista – someone who is habitually concerned only for their gain and comfort. The chronicle has been a windsock newspaper for quite some time. They’ve built up a following of Hee-Haw readers, with articles that are probably better left to supermarket tabloids and that always garner hundreds of comments from the right wingers.
    The baffling thing is that they believe that sensationalism is a profitable model and that it’s somehow better than responsible in depth journalism.

  • cedichou

    A conservative newspaper takes the conservative stance on gay marriage, color me surprised.

    Debra is a piece of work. Thank you for reading, I don’t have the stomach for that. I’d like to know who the ‘token liberal’ at Hearst, I haven’t seen him.

  • Singing Mum

    Here’s hoping Saunders has some great bodyguards. Tolerance is a jittery thing in SF. Still, all the intimidation and ‘slap a hate label on anyone who favors traditional marriage’ tactic didn’t change the voters’ mind on Prop 8.

    7 million people who live near you and work near you voted to support marriage. And surprise! They don’t hate you, they just don’t want to redefine marriage and family.

  • Matt Baume

    The Singing Mum is right. It seems like every time I start talking about the Global Zionist Conspiracy, people call me anti-Semitic. How intolerant of them!

  • Eve Batey

    If only people would understand that it’s not that you *hate* the Jews, it’s just that you don’t think they deserve the same rights everyone else enjoys!

  • Burgos

    Bingo.

  • brad

    Nice job on the artwork Tim!