It'll still be controversial for awhile and many people and organizations are clearly still trying to figure out how to place it within the normal fabric of life. They have to, because that's where it seems to be headed.
|The front page of the Laurel Call-Leader|
in Mississippi that caused such a controversy
In the heart of conservative Mississippi, a local paper, the Laurel Leader-Call carried a front page story recently about a same sex couple getting married there.
Yes, I know gay marriage is not legal there, but it was a commitment ceremony, basically a marriage. One of the two women has a brain tumor, the couple worried time was short so they decided to go for it.
The paper did an article on the event because it was the first time such a thing had happened around Laurel. They used the word "historic" in the headline, because nothing like it had every happened before in Laurel.
This being a particulary conservative part of the country, many Leader-Call readers were up in arms about the article.
The paper's editor, Jim Cegielski, was fed up with some of the reaction, and wrote one of the best editorials, at least in terms of journalistic integrity, that I've seen in awhile.
(In the above link, it's a bit complicated to get to the actual excellent editorial. Go up to where it says "Page 1, scroll down to "Page 4/5" then click on the editorial you see on the upper right. That's what you want to read.)
In it, he attacked the vitriol of some of the critics. The great thing about the editorial is it was an ode to free expression, and he kept his opinion of gay marriage out of it. Read the editorial and you still will have no idea what Cegielski's opinion of gay marriage is.
What he did attack was some strange thinking going on among people who criticized the article.
One line of attack was that the paper called the marriage "Historic."
And as Cegielski pointed out, it was historic, since it was the first time it happened in Laurel, as I've noted.
The most delicious part of Cegielski's editorial was when he slammed people who worried about children who would see the gay marriage article.
"We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying 'I don't need my children reading this.' Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children."
According to media blogger Jim Romenesko, the Laurel Leader Call is now in the happy throes of a backlash against the backlash about the gay marriage story.
The paper is winning new subscribers, mostly from outside Mississippi and the Laurel area. So many people are looking at the paper's web site that it crashed late last week. (It appears to be fixed now)
All because an editor was committed to his duty to inform, no matter if his readership liked the news or not. Well played, Mr. Cegielski.
Another Case Ends Well.
There was another gay marriage incident in the media recently that ended both well and fairly for all involved. It worked out that way because people thought with their brains and heart, and not with mindless hate and bias.
As BuzzFeed explained it, photographer Anne Almasy decided to try advertising in Wedding Unveiled magazine. She didn't want to submit a standard issue groom in tux, plastic smiling blonde bride in white photo for the ad.
Instead, she used a photo of two women marrying each other. The photo is striking, and helps show off Almasy's artistry, which of course is the point of advertising in a publication like Wedding Unveiled. You want to show off your strengths in your advertising.
|The photographer's advertisement that was rejected,|
then accepted by Wedding Unveiled.
The magazine's editors politely declined the ad, saying they feared peple weren't ready yet for same sex wedding photography.
Dismayed, Almasy wrote back, in an open letter:
There was a fair amount of hue and cry over the editorial decision not to run the ad. Then Wedding Unveiled editors Terry Ireland and Brooke Thomas thought about it some more, in light of the criticism and questions they got.
They wrote on the magazine's blog:
We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to address an important issue that has angered and disappointed many people. We are incredibly sad that same sex marriage is still an issue in our society. When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy's advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry.
Almasy quickly forgave the editors, congratulated them on their change of heart and submitted her advertisement. She said:
"I cannot tell you how completely stunned, humbled and honored I am that you took teh time to truly read my letter and chose to side with your hearts. I couldn't have imagined a better outcome......I will gladly stand with you in this fight for equality, and would be thrilled to move forward with this ad in Weddings Unveiled.
All's well that ends well, at least in this case.