January 26, 2013

Gay Congressmen and the New American Family. (Or: Boehner's the Straight White Dude.)

As our culture evolves in fits and starts, it’s interesting how the visuals can get so far ahead of the words.  Take this photo leading yesterday’s NYT article on the six new openly gay Congress members, for example. The article mentions several of those members,  including Representative Maloney, whose swearing-in ceremony is the object of the lead image.

Besides one general quote, however, Maloney is not that specific to the article … which is what makes this accompanying image so fascinating. If the expectation of the photo editor was to have us consider the appearance of a newly-elected gay Congressman and his partner, that’s one thing. I was on stimulus overload, however, with the inclusion of the children.

Beyond the caption …

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, right, and his family posed with John A. Boehner, left.

the last line of the article provides this context:  …

“At a ceremonial swearing-in this month by John A. Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, standing alongside Mr. Maloney were his partner of 20 years and their three adopted children.”

Knowing there was another child just outside the edge of the picture somewhere made me curious enough to seek the full brood on Maloney’s Congressional website:

Quoting his site, we’re informed:

“Maloney will be joined at the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony by his partner, Randy Florke, and his three children: Jesus, Daley, and Essie.”

What doesn’t surprise me, however, is how the NYT can only speak to so much difference at one time. Because, what’s as interesting about the new Congressional demographics is this portrait (given the huge bible and the wall-to-wall flags) of the new all-American family.

(photo 1: Charles Dharapak/AP. photo 2: http://seanmaloney.house.gov/)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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