Friday, August 1, 2008

What Is a Milestone?

I recently submitted this letter to the editor. So far, it has not been printed, but that may be due to the editorial page being taken up by election issues.

Dear Editor,

I have recently been informed that the Citizen Patriot misguidedly refuses to print wedding announcements for same-sex couples in the “milestones” section alongside other wedding announcements, because they are not legal in the state of Michigan.

You do not discriminate based on where the wedding is, as in Sunday’s paper there are notices of weddings in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Ohio. I assume you would also print weddings that take place in Massachusetts and California between a man and a woman. In those states same-sex weddings are also legal. If you were merely reporting legal transactions, this would go in a different section of the paper—with the legal notices. Anniversaries and Engagements are not legal procedures, either. Legality is not the issue.

Furthermore, there are two types of weddings: civil and religious. It is not uncommon for civil and religious ceremonies to be done separately. If a heterosexual couple was having only their religious ceremony in Jackson and wanted to announce it, but a legal ceremony was done at another time, you would print it. You do not ask for copies of the license with your submissions. Religious services for same-sex weddings are every bit as valid.

In short, sometimes the legal ceremony takes place elsewhere, and sometimes it is only a religious ceremony, but same-sex marriage ceremonies happen in this state, and to people connected to this community. They are milestones—every bit as much as the weddings, engagements, and anniversaries you print.

Please recognize that your milestones page is not about legalese, or what is state-recognized. It is about honoring and acknowledging the “milestones” in people’s lives. Many respected newspapers are printing same-sex wedding announcements, recognizing this. It’s time for you to do the same.

Sincerely,

Rev. Cynthia Landrum
Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty

Update: See this article in Between the Lines about the situation that instigated my letter. The Citizen Patriot has a policy of not printing letters that are about businesses, even their own, if that letter is essentially starting the news. Hopefully, now that this is news in another publication, they'll open themselves up to printing letters about it. Don't count on it, however.

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