Just weeks after a New Jersey Jewish weekly newspaper, the Jewish Standard, generated controversy for banning same-sex wedding announcements, one of the largest newspapers in New Hampshire, the Union-Leader, has similarly come out against same-sex wedding announcements.
New Jersey and New Hampshire are two of a handful of states that have legalized gay marriage. The Jewish Standard had published a same-sex wedding announcement, was criticized, announced it would no longer run same-sex announcements, and then backed down after being criticized again. The Jewish Standard is currently re-thinking its decision.
The Union-Leader, based in Manchester, N.H., has a circulation of more than 50,000, MondoTimes reports.
Yet, the Union-Leader has said in a statement that it hasn’t ever published same-sex announcements and doesn’t have to, even if same-sex marriages are legal.
“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,” TV station KTLA reported.
Further, the newspaper’s publisher, Joe McQuaid defended the newspaper because the newspaper doesn’t have to support the law. He noted that the law was signed without public referendum.
“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,’’ McQuaid is quoted as telling the Associated Press. “We continue our longstanding policy of printing letters to the editor from New Hampshire citizens, whether or not they agree with us.’’
McQuaid added that “We are not ‘anti-gay.’ We are for marriage remaining the important man-woman institution is has always been”
The controversy was spurred by a New Hampshire native and New York resident, Greg Gould, whose wedding announcement the newspaper refused to publish. Gould, who married Aurelio Tine, didn’t agree with the newspaper’s decision to not publish.
“When you publish a wedding announcement, it’s not as if the newspaper sanctions it — it’s just news,’’ Gould is quoted as saying. “If they didn’t want to report on all the things they didn’t like, then they wouldn’t report on murder, and war and government.’’
The newspaper’s decision to not publish made its way into the political debate, as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Paul Hodes, criticized the newspaper. “Legitimate minds can disagree over policy but once the law is settled, the paper should put aside differences and allow all couples to have equal access to their publication,” the Concord Monitor reported Hodes said.
While Hodes called on his opponent, Kelly Ayotte, to similarly speak out against the newspaper, her spokesperson reportedly said the government shouldn’t interfere with the press.
iMediaEthics has written to The Union-Leader asked if it will ban all same-sex announcements, what went into the newspaper’s decision, and asking for comment on the criticism. We will update with any response.
We have also written to the Jewish Standard asking what its current policy is toward publishing same-sex wedding announcements. We will update with any response.
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