Omaha Paper to Print Same-Sex Wedding Announcements

September 9th, 2010 by Staff

Source: The New York Times — The Omaha World-Herald, under fire from gay rights advocates who led an Internet-based campaign to protest the paper’s policy to not run same-sex paid wedding announcements, has changed its mind.

The paper, Nebraska’s largest, said on Tuesday that it would print all wedding and engagement announcements regardless of the couple’s sex. It said it would continue a policy of running announcements only for legal marriages — not civil unions or commitment ceremonies.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the paper’s publisher seemed taken aback at the protest that the initial policy provoked from gay rights supporters.

“What has transpired over recent days has included some reasoned discussions with us about our practices, but mostly it has been a stream of vitriol against The World-Herald,” said the publisher, Terry Kroeger. “This news organization is not guilty of hating gays and lesbians. Should we have seen this issue more clearly? Probably. Have we been too slow in reacting to this matter? Maybe. But hateful? Never.”

The dispute began last week after an Omaha businessman, Jeff Wilke, submitted his request for a paid wedding announcement for his daughter. When Mr. Kroeger denied the request, citing the paper’s policy against such announcements for same-sex couples, Mr. Wilke took to the Internet.

He started a Facebook group called United for Equal Rights in Omaha, which by Tuesday had more than 2,500 members and had received attention on widely read gay news blogs.

“I am disgusted to say that the publisher himself, Terry Kroeger, called me personally to say same-gender couples are not allowed to buy announcements in The Omaha World-Herald,” Mr. Wilke wrote, urging people to call the paper to protest and providing the paper’s number.


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