Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We Made The Papers In Missouri

Okay, so the other day I was blogging about newspapers that don't print same-sex marriage announcements, because same-sex marriage, marriage equality, is illegal in their state.

I get that. Illegal. Separate but equal. Less than. But, what's the harm in printing the announcement of a couple who married in Iowa, or Maine, or Vermont...yada yada yada? Where's the harm in that?

Well, yesterday the Kansas City Star-–one of the Missouri’s largest newspapers--decided it would begin to honor same-sex marriages in its "Celebrations" section. Needless to say, lots of folks, those gay, those supportive of gay people, and those who understand that discrimination is unAmerican, cheered the announcement of the announcements. But no one was happier than newlyweds Mike and Chuck Hewitt, who submitted their marriage announcement that led to the official change in policy at the Star.

After Iowa ended its policy of discrimination, Mike and Chuck Hewitt of Independence, Missouri, traveled to Iowa in order to finally have the chance to exchange wedding vows after 10 years together.

Yet when the couple returned to Missouri and tried to have their joyous news published in the local papers for all to see, they discovered their news, while happy, was unwelcome on the pages of their local paper, the Independence Enquirer. Not giving up, Mr. and Mr. Hewitt called on the Kansas City Star next, and according to Mike, “All they had to do was look at the picture...'Two guys? No.'”

Well, the news of the newspaper's decision spread like wildfire, all over Missouri and even up into Illinois. Yes. Illinois. Both newspapers were asked to comment on their decision, and said they were following the state law of Missouri, which does not recognize marriage for same-sex couples.

Yes, I get it. It's the law. Marriage equality bad. But surely, it isn't illegal to put an announcement in the newspaper, is it?

In the swirl of the media spotlight, and with the help of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the Kansas City Star responded to the outpouring of reader comments about the news reports of non-inclusive wedding announcement policy.

According to Derek Donovan, representative at the Kansas City Star: “At the time the couple contacted the Classified division last week, it was the first time I’m aware of that the question had been raised in a long time. The policy was put in place three publishers ago, before states began legalizing marriage and other unions between gay couples. The Star’s senior management met last Thursday morning to review the old policy, and decided to change it....[t]he new ‘Celebrations’ will debut in the near future.”

So, now not only will Mike and Chuck Hewitt be able to share their good news with their local community, but the Kansas City Star’s change of heart makes the total of U.S. daily newspapers with inclusive policies reach 1,052 strong!

One day we'll be legal in all the newspapers because we'll be legal in every state.

1 comment:

Mark in DE said...

I can hardly wait for that day!