The Elkhart Truth, a local Indiana newspaper, published an engagement announcement this past weekend of a same-sex couple who lives and plans to marry in Iowa, where marriage for same-sex couples is legal.
The fact that it’s illegal in Indiana apparently caused a big ruckus among a small conservative constituency, according to a post by blogger Bil Browning at the LGBT group blog The Bilerico Project.
In response to its critics, the newspaper published an op-ed. The main reason cited by the newspaper for publishing the announcement is that one of the men was originally from Elkhart and still has family in the area, which is the same criteria that it would use for an opposite-sex couple.
Here’s an excerpt from the op-ed:
“We fulfilled our role as a paper of record. We documented an engagement, something we do hundreds of times each year.
“Protesters asked why we would publish a story about something illegal in Indiana. Basically, it’s because an informed citizenry, a citizenry capable of thinking for itself, needs uncensored news from a variety of sources. That includes states and nations where the law does not conform to Indiana’s.
“Because after all, how would Hoosiers who oppose gay rights even know about Iowa’s same-sex marriage ruling in April if news outlets hadn’t reported it in Indiana — where same-sex marriage is illegal?
“Now, to address the accusation that we’re promoting gay rights.
“Protesters believe that every news story amounts to an official endorsement of its content. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“We publish announcements every week about babies born to unwed mothers. Does that mean we approve of births out of wedlock?
“It doesn’t mean that we approve or disapprove. It’s news.”
As evidenced by this incident and a previous one at the Kansas City Star, marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa has certainly stirred up the issue of LGBT civil rights throughout the Midwest.
I hope that news outlets will continue to serve the role of informer as nicely done (aside from the fact that it would have been better to cite “LGBT rights” instead of “gay rights”) and explained by the Elkhart Truth.