A soon-to-be married gay man lambasted BuzzFeed’s “dangerous” hit piece on HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines’ religious views in a scathing op-ed published in The Washington Post on Thursday.
Brandon Ambrosino, of Delaware, is currently planning his wedding with the man who will soon be his husband. He is a Christian and believes that God “celebrates” their love.
However, he also understands some of his “well-meaning Christian friends” will not support him when it comes to his marriage. While personally hurtful, their personal convictions don’t make them worthy of public mockery and scorn, he writes.
That’s why Ambrosino believes BuzzFeed’s guilt-by-association premise is a big problem:
I’m referring to a non-story written by Kate Aurthur, published Tuesday on BuzzFeed. The piece starts off innocently enough by describing the success of Chip and Joanna Gaines, a husband-and-wife team whose series “Fixer Upper” is one of the most popular shows on HGTV. After pivoting to the religious beliefs of the Gaineses, and pointing out that they go to an evangelical church whose pastors oppose same-sex marriage, Aurthur then poses these questions:
“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers’?”
The entire article is an elaborate exploration of that hypothetical question. And yes, it is very much hypothetical, by the reporter’s own admission: “Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned. Nor were emails and calls to HGTV’s PR department.”
But that does not stop Aurthur from writing almost 800 more words about the non-story. Her upshot seems to be: Two popular celebrities might oppose same-sex marriage because the pastor of the church they go to opposes same-sex marriage, but I haven’t heard one way or the other. (I can’t imagine pitching that story to an editor and getting a green light, by the way.)
Ambrosino goes on to point out that while public support for gay marriage is at an all-time high of 55 percent, almost 4 out of 10 Americans still don’t support the idea.
So when BuzzFeed published the story, they knew the Gaineses and HGTV would be forced to issue a public statement on same-sex marriage marriage and the network could even face pressure to drop the popular TV couple, Ambrosino writes.
Here’s why he thinks it matters:
Think about that for a moment. Is the suggestion here that 40 percent of Americans are unemployable because of their religious convictions on marriage? That the companies that employ them deserve to be boycotted until they yield to the other side of the debate — a side, we should note, that is only slightly larger than the one being shouted down?
Or maybe the suggestion is that, because they are public figures, they need to be held to a higher standard, one that does not allow them room for moral and religious convictions? But that doesn’t make sense, either.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are outspoken about their Christian faith, but have kept their views on same-sex marriage private.