Sun alters policy on same-sex union ads

Announcements to appear in Arts & Society section

November 06, 2003|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore Sun Co. executive said yesterday that the newspaper is prepared to publish announcements of same-sex unions in the paper's Arts & Society section, where other paid celebratory notices appear.

The newspaper ran its first same-sex announcement in August but placed it in a section dedicated to classified ads, separating it from wedding, birth and anniversary announcements.

"We are now in a position to accept same-sex ads on our Celebrations page," said Mireille Grangenois, vice president of marketing and interactive media. "We are striving for balance between what our readers want and what our advertisers are looking for. This is simply an extension of our ongoing discussion about how we serve the entire community, and we think our Celebrations section now reflects that."

Michael Young, associate director of regional media for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said he was pleased with the company's decision.

"It is really a positive move for the paper," said Young, who noted that more newspapers are publishing same-sex union announcements. "It is only fair that same-sex couples have the same opportunity to publicly announce their weddings and commitments equally with opposite sex couples."

"I think it is tacky," said Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum, which is described as a pro-family think tank. "It is pretending it is a marriage, and it isn't. Wedding announcements are supposed to be happy announcements."

Grangenois said the decision to put same-sex announcements on the Celebrations page was made in September.

The earlier decision to publish same-sex announcements in the classified section brought a volley of letters to the editor, some criticizing publication of the announcement and others complaining about its placement.

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