Jeffrey Klouser and Brent Weaver have been together 7 years and plan to marry out of state. To commemorate a momentous occasion they, like man couples, took out an ad in the local newspaper’s Celebrations section.
Unfortunately, the paper’s management decided that such a simple affirmation of a relationship was not in line with community standards. Whatever that means.
Harold E. Miller, president and chief executive officer of Lancaster Newspapers Inc., issued a written statement about the advertising policies of the company, which publishes the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era and the Sunday News, where the couple hoped to print their announcement in the Celebrations section.
“Our readers have come to depend upon our judgment, taste, tone and discretion in publishing advertising to be admitted into their homes,” Miller said. “They select our newspapers because of these qualities and we believe we are obligated to uphold their selection by declining to publish advertising announcements and notices which, in our opinion, are not consistent with prevailing community standards.”
A variety of opinion polls show that Pennsylvanian’s are growing more accepting of marriage equality, hovering around 50%. A majority of Pennsylvania residents support workplace and housing protections for LGBT persons.
There’s no data on which papers in the Commonwealth publish these announcements. The Lancaster paper is also inconsistent because they will publish birth announcements with same sex parents because “the focus is on the child.” Well, LGBT folks raising children is a contentious issue is some crowds. And what if they child is gay? Maybe they shouldn’t print any birth announcements until that much ballyhooed “gay gene” is identified.
I wonder if this paper publishes engagement announcements for couples who live together. In sin? Or perhaps those who are divorced, but still go to Mass? Just how far does this morals test delve?
The paper also publishes obituaries listing same sex survivors. So we have the community’s blessing to breed and die, but not marry? That makes no sense – if you are going to honor a relationship in a time of grief, why would you not celebrate it?
Fortunately, not every paper is this ridiculous.
[Clouser] successfully placed the engagement announcement in the Boyertown Area Times, his hometown paper, and said the Lebanon Daily News also will run it.
If you peek at the original article, you’ll notice that the comments are mostly positive and affirming. This is not a decision that reflects where Pennsylvania is with same sex marriage. It is a narrow minded decision that reflects bigotry and antiquated values out of line with Pennsylvania.