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Bil Browning

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Indiana Newspaper Publishes Same-Sex Marriage Announcement: Madness Ensues

Posted: 07/17/2009 11:58 am

When the Elkhart Truth published a same-sex wedding announcement for Micheal Berkey and James Chapin earlier this week, Hoosier fundies went bananas. The couple plan to be married July 25th in Iowa.

It didn't take long for the American Family Association of Indiana to start spinning and spreading lies. The group sent out an action alert to their sheep suggesting that the paper will soon start printing "anniversary announcements for polygamous marriages" and "incestuous birth announcements." So far the newspaper has stood its ground that same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa.

Would the Elkhart Truth publish ads for prostitution simply because it is legal in Nevada? What about late-term abortion advertisements from Kansas? How about accepting an obituary for someone planning to commit suicide in Oregon where euthanasia is legal?

Local anti-gay blogger Brian Sikma picks up the homophobic rallying cry but adds an important bit of information. He tells his readers, "You can reach John Dille III, CEO of Federated Media, by calling 574-295-2500 or email jdille@federatedmedia.com. Your polite but firm message to him, and his company, regarding this matter will make a difference." You can do the same thing, of course. You can also e-mail a letter to the editor of The Truth.

But the best part of this story is still to come...

Local anti-abortion wingnut legislator Jackie Walorski (she dooms Indiana's hate crimes legislation each year by insisting legislators vote on adding fetuses as a protected class) helped AFA-IN to raise the ruckus and brags about it on her blog.

Thanks to those of you that called or emailed me about the issue of printing same sex marriage photos in The Truth. I did an interview yesterday morning on WFRN and it sounds like hundreds of people responded. You might want to check out The Truth's editorial today, it seems as though they are rock solid in their decision and are amused at the response of those that disagree with their decision. You can still call and give your opinion; it seems as though they are tracking the responses.

The Truth responded to the criticism today with a barnstormer of an editorial that's definitely worth a read. While this clip is well-reasoned, you have to read the whole thing to get a real feel for how strongly supportive they are.

People wrote and called from throughout Indiana. Many expressed their sincere belief that homosexuality is a sin and that marriage is between a man and a woman. Others quoted straight from the Fred Phelps playbook, excoriating "fags" and "perverts."

Most asked the same questions -- why did you publish a same-sex engagement announcement when it's illegal in Indiana and why are you promoting the gay marriage?

Same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, where the couple lives and plans to marry. Since one of the young men is originally from Elkhart and his family still lives here, we did the same thing we'd do for any other local family with a child getting married -- we published the couple's engagement announcement.

We fulfilled our role as a paper of record. We documented an engagement, something we do hundreds of times each year.

Protesters asked why we would publish a story about something illegal in Indiana. Basically, it's because an informed citizenry, a citizenry capable of thinking for itself, needs uncensored news from a variety of sources. That includes states and nations where the law does not conform to Indiana's.

Because after all, how would Hoosiers who oppose gay rights even know about Iowa's same-sex marriage ruling in April if news outlets hadn't reported it in Indiana -- where same-sex marriage is illegal?

Waloski's blog post adds some of the craziest shit I've seen her put out yet. The twists to her logic are amazing.

I spoke with Managing Editor, Greg Halling, to express concern as to why they would publish something that isn't legal here and in today's editorial they equate this decision with printing birth announcements even if the babies are born "out of wedlock" but being born out of wedlock isn't illegal and the birth is still recognized by the State as legitimate. It's the voters in Indiana that choose the laws and the community standard by which we live and are governed.

The absolute idiocy of Walorski's statement could knock you over with the sheer weight of all the o's in STOOOOPID. Since when do voters in Indiana choose whether or not the Elkart Truth can publish a same-sex marriage announcement? Was there an amendment added to our state DOMA that said, "And you can't publish announcements from out-of-state gay weddings either!"?

Walorski is too dim to realize that she's not "governed" by community standards either; statistics say that a good portion of her community is adulterers. Does this mean she'll be cheating on her spouse soon? A good portion are also drug users. Will Walorski pick up the crack pipe?

Cuz I'm guessing that a story about state legislator Jackie Walorski caught smoking crack while cheating on her husband would be newsworthy (if true!) -- even though smoking crack is against the law in Indiana.

(Crossposted from my home blog, Bilerico Project. Come visit me there to see why both the Washington Post and the Advocate named us one of the top 10 LGBT political blogs in the nation.)

 

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