It was an historic day for Bristol. The city’s first same-sex marriage. We thought it was front-page news. And we illustrated the event with the picture that defines any marriage – the happy couple’s first kiss.
But this was a gay marriage. Which meant the picture was of two men kissing – Mike McBeth and Matthew Symonds, joyfully tying the knot after 20 years together.
I’m a Bristolian, brought up in South Bristol. Real Bristol. One of the things I love about my home town is how characterful, tolerant and non-conformist its people are. So I thought Bristol was ready for that picture.
But, boy, was I wrong. We lost thousands of sales of the paper. Which surprised me. Because, on the day, we received just nine phone calls of complaint.
I’ve asked a lot of people about that picture, friends and relatives from all walks of life and all parts of the city. Absolutely no one I’ve spoken to admits to finding it offensive…