Gay Marriage and Internet Commentary: An Explosive Combination

The sharing of knowledge – diversifying views – leading to enlightenment.

The women of the Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., take part in a variety of discussions, covering a wide range of topics; each expressing her own views, thoughts and ideas. These discussions help to strengthen our understanding of each other and the global community. The knowledge gained through these interactions serves to reinforce the tenets on which Theta Nu Xi was founded: Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, Leadership and Multiculturalism.

Gay Marriage and Internet Commentary: An Explosive Combination – W. Hartmann

“Just Married” – Courtesy of arcticcompass.blogspot.com

In July of this year, New York joined five other states in its commitment to recognize gay marriage. The decision was met with celebration from members of Theta Nu Xi (National Message) to celebrities like Lady Gaga, Pink, and Cyndi Lauper (Huffington Post Article), and of course the LGBT population of New York, who are directly affected by the revolutionary decision. With a new population able to have their union recognized by the state of New York, some are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Alix Genter is one such individual. In preparation for her wedding ceremony, Alix visited Here Comes the Bride, a bridal store in New Jersey. In a far less romantic gesture, Donna Saber, the manager of Here Comes the Bride, refused to work with Alix due to her objection to Alix’s sexual identity. The next piece of the story, as discussed by Chris Matyszczyk (CNet Article) was Alix posting a review of the bridal store on Yelp.com.

In response to Alix’s post were many commentators indicating their approval or disapproval of Here Comes the Bride and their business practices. In accordance with their content guidelines, moderators at Yelp have responded by filtering or removing posts that were clearly made by individuals with no experience at Here Comes the Bride.

In a discussion on the event and Yelp’s response, one participant began the conversation, “Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, it is illegal for an establishment to deny a customer due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.,” and many others agreed. On Yelp, there were a few more reactions. While one individual stated, “Yelp has every right not to post comment from individuals who do not have firsthand experience with the shop,” another responded that, “People usually have strong opinions, and the biggest factor for reviews and business credibility is word of mouth…a person’s perception is their reality and the bridal shop owner must now combat something she brought upon herself.”

“Gay Marriage” – Courtesy of www.sweden.se

It seems that Yelp’s goal is objective reviews of its service, but as long as a sentiment of “bigotry” exists, it could still influence our decisions as consumers. Another point of view was expressed, “…a buzz has been created. People know what happened, even if it wasn’t the right venue to express it.” And finally, a word of caution on the whole matter expressed by another contributor, “It’s curious that the company is concerned about these reviews. I’ve seen sarcastic, stupid reviews for many places that were posted either as a joke or as an act of petty vengeance.”

Might the controversy be too much for Yelp to handle? Was Yelp only trying to reinforce the company has no stance on gay marriage? When is it okay to monitor one dialogue, but not others? As the public, we have the power to decide which websites we use, misuse, and what rules we obey or disobey. We also have the capacity to be savvy consumers of any website, so as with any undertaking: proceed with caution!


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