Another Marriage Announcement Debate, This Time in New England

It’s hard to imagine that something is sweet and innocent as the announcement that two people are getting legally married would cause controversy, but this week brings another kerfuffle over running same-sex marriage announcements.  This time, it’s the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader.

The Leader’s publisher–Joseph McQauid–issued the following statement in response to a request from Aurelio and Greg to have their legal marriage mentioned in the largest newspaper in the state.

“This newspaper has never published wedding or engagement announcements from homosexual couples. It would be hypocritical of us to do so, given our belief that marriage is and needs to remain a social and civil structure between men and women, and our opposition to the recent state law legalizing gay marriage.

That law was not subject to public referendum and the governor (John Lynch) who signed it was elected after telling voters that he was opposed to gay marriage. Indeed, in no state where the public has been allowed a direct vote on the subject has gay marriage prevailed.

We are not “anti-gay.” We are for marriage remaining the important man-woman institution it has always been.

While the law sanctions gay marriage, it neither demands that churches perform them or that our First Amendment right to choose what we print be suspended. In accordance with that right, we continue our longstanding policy of printing letters to the editor from New Hampshire citizens, whether or not they agree with us.”-Joseph W. McQuaid Publisher

Traditional, American journalism doesn’t usually include the royal “we” when talking about news decisions influenced by editorial-board decisions. Usually, the editorial board doesn’t influence the news pages, but apparently not at the Union Leader.

Marriage announcements play a role in celebrating the community where a newspaper operates.  To not include legal marriages in that state based on publisher/editorial board opposition to those legal marriages is not reflective of traditional journalism standards. It is an insult to the community and violates the spirit of good, community journalism.

 

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