Kansas City newspapers and same-sex weddings

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Kansas City newspapers and same-sex weddings

Postby jkav » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:16 am

Fox4News wrote:Same-Sex Wedding Announcement Forces Change at Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, MO - A metro couple didn't know or anticipate that they were making history, but their nuptial announcement led to a review and change of policy at the area's largest newspaper.

Michael and Chuck Hewitt were married on May 17th in Lamoni, Iowa, shortly after the state legalized same-sex marriages. But when they wanted to announce their wedding in the Kansas City Star, they were initially turned down.

"You open up the paper all the time and you see these other wedding announcements," said Michael Hewitt. "We thought, since this was a real wedding, well, we'll put it in the paper."

The couple first contacted The Star and then the Independence Examiner.

"Within a half hour, we got an email back that said we don't do same sex or commitment ceremonies in our paper," said Michael.

"It dampened the spirit of it and the joy of it," said Chuck Hewitt. "It made it feel like, we didn't count as much as other people."

But the Hewitts never realized that their request would prompt major discussions at both newspapers.

"This is the first time that I'm aware of in recent history that the question has even come up as to whether the Star would run an announcement like this or not," said Derek Donovan, The Star's readers representative. Donovan said that the paper decided to change their policy, and, as of last week, started publishing same-sex marriage announcements.

"We couldn't come up with a compelling reason why not to," said Donovan.

Donovan says that he spent the day talking to Star readers about the new policy, and he says that most of the readers applaud the change.

Examiner publisher Steve Curd says that they're standing by their decision not to run the announcement. But Curd stresses that it is in no way a political statement of any kind.

"The Examiner's policy is to follow the law of the State of Missouri," said Curd.

While the Hewitts don't agree with The Examiner's position, they say that they're thrilled with The Star's new policy.

"It's pretty incredible that they've done an about-face," said Michael.

On the Independence Examiner's website, readers could respond to their refusal to run the announcement. It's interesting that the pro-announcement people cite our democratic tradition, sound business practices, freedom of speech, etc. as their reasons for supporting it, while those who opposed publishing the announcement cited their feelings.

Independence Examiner wrote:Protector of freedom should publish wedding
TJay Farley, Commissioner Emeritus
City of Tacoma (Wash.) Human Rights Commission

How dare you reject the announcement by Mr. and Mr. Hewitt in telling all about their wedding! You, the bastion of what has always been journalistic freedom, upholder of all the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment and the ability to honestly and bravely bring forth the news now decide to act as a “morality” for your community? Pathetic! Oh, the more creative vernacular I am sure that others have provided you. Oh that I would see how many have terminated their subscription (with just cause) or to cancel their advertising with you.

Examiner made right decision
Stacey Lemke, St. Louis area

To the editor:
I currently live in the St. Louis area, but was born and raised in Independence. I just saw a story on our noon news about you refusing to run the wedding announcement of a recently wed gay couple. I want to say a huge thank you! I’m sure there are a lot of people who are upset by your decision, but as for me and my family we are not! Thank you for helping me maintain my pride for my hometown!

Sanctity of marriage should not be corrupted
Tina Grecida, Blue Springs

To the editor:
Thank you for rejecting the same sex marriage announcement. While I personally do not agree with same-sex marriages at all, I am glad that people are finally taking a stand against them and following the letter of the law in states that haven’t corrupted the sanctity of marriage. Same sex couples are more than welcome to civil unions in other states, so be it.
Thanks again for not publishing the announcement.

Examiner is being homophobic
Anthony Netz, Independence

To the editor:
I think your policy of “following state law” is just a shield for being homophobic. The Examiner is an independent company and it’s your decision what goes in the newspaper. The fact is that a lot of states now do have gay marriage and since Missouri doesn’t, gay people go elsewhere. When they come back, they are still married whether Missouri recognizes it or not. A wedding announcement should go in the paper. Plain and simple.

Free press should print all marriages
Kristina DesCombes, Kansas City

To the editor:
I am curious, when exactly did the Examiner stop believing in free press?
If their excuse for not running the same sex marriage announcement this week is really because they only print items that are in line with current Missouri laws, it seems that there are many items that would not make it into print.
We celebrate so many things each year, many of which are not legal. For example, many of the holidays we choose to celebrate are not actually government recognized holidays, but I’m sure this would not stop the Examiner from printing an announcement regarding such a holiday celebration.
I feel that the Examiner is utilizing the “following current Missouri law” statement as an excuse and nothing more.
This couple just wanted to be treated like every other couple. Yet, The Examiner chose to discriminate against them. It feels no different to me than during the 1960s when people, and yes, for a while even newspapers treated mixed-race marriages this same way, refusing to print the marriage announcements of weddings that occurred between blacks and whites.
I certainly hope that The Examiner will take another look at their reasons behind such a policy, and print the announcement.

And, my favorite

Independence Examiner wrote:Thanks for not printing announcement
Bonnie Pabst, Lee’s Summit

To the editor:
I wanted to thank you for your stance on not printing same-sex marriage or commitments in your newspaper.
This is a win for God.
A trip into the unknown is always something that can make us happy.
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