Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since January. I thought I’d point this out right away, since even New Hampshire’s second-largest newspaper, the Union Leader of Manchester, apparently didn’t get the memo. Indeed, even though same-sex couples have won the marriage equality battle in New Hampshire, it appears that they face another battle: getting the wedding announced in the newspaper.
Just imagine it. Waiting and fighting for years for the right to marry the person you love. Then, finally, you get that right. So you make plans to get married, but one problem – your newspaper won’t publish your wedding announcement. No legal reasons (many newspapers in states that don’t have marriage equality use the law as a reason not to announce same-sex marriages). Just plain, unapologetic bigotry.
This is the situation in which Greg and Aurelio, a gay couple planning to get married in New Hampshire, find themselves. Everything was coming together nicely. And why not? – gay couples can get married in New Hampshire. There was no reason for anybody to anticipate any serious problems. Since Greg is from the Manchester area, they of course wanted the wedding to be announced in Manchester’s Union Leader. One problem: The Union Leader, state law be damned, does not support marriage equality. And because it’s a privately owned company, it’s claiming the right to choose not to publish whatever it doesn’t want to publish. The editor claims that it’s the "policy of the newspaper" not to publish same-sex marriage announcements.
The story gets worse. Towleroad reports:
Aurelio is in the process of becoming a US citizen. He has his social security number, and his driver’s license. Venezuela is a very conservative country and many citizens don’t support gay marriage or homosexuality in general. Actually, this fact is so true, that half of Aurelio’s family just discovered he was gay when we sent their wedding invitation to them last week. Because of this fact, Greg and Aurelio wanted to make their wedding as public as possible in the US in order to plead to a judge to allow him to stay in the US for fear of his safety from his countrymen should be return to Venezuela as an openly gay man.
I wish I could say that I was surprised about this terrible situation in which Greg and Aurelio find themselves, but I can’t say that I am. Marriage is obviously only part of the battle – intolerance and bigotry will continue to remain an issue long after we attain marriage equality. The only consolation is that the editor at the Union Leader is on the losing side of this fight for social equality and acceptance.
Oh, and if you want to contact the Union Leader (and I hope that you do), here is all the contact information you’ll need. The Union Leader may technically have a right to do this, but it doesn't hurt to let them know how we feel about their overt bigotry and disrespect of Greg and Aurelio and other gay couples. Who knows? - maybe with the right amount of outrage, the newspaper might consider changing their "policy" and recognizing existing state law.