Elkhart Truth strikes a blow for same-sex marriage

Dateline: Wed 29 Jul 2009

Thanks to my friend Paula Sites, who provided a link via Facebook to the Elkhart Truth newspaper re: its policy on same-sex marriage.

This was published July 16 on the editorial pages of that paper. I include it here in its entirety. It ran under the headline "Announcements are news, not opinions." Here is what was stated on those pages:

"We had no idea that people in Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Warsaw, Kokomo, Indianapolis, Fishers, LaGrange, Muncie, South Bend and Syracuse cared so passionately about The Elkhart Truth. Not to mention our burgeoning fan base in Lawton, Okla.

"Nonetheless, we appreciate the interest.

"We published an announcement Sunday that two men, one a former Elkhart resident, plan to marry this month in Iowa. For more than 48 hours, readers barely uttered a word. We received four e-mails -- two against, one for and one that misspelled "disgusting" -- two phone calls, and no letters to the editor and roughly 10 comments on eTruth.com.

"Readers either didn't notice the announcement among the other engagements Sunday or they made their peace with it. No big deal. That is, until a pair of family advocacy groups, abetted by a local AM radio station, organized a protest against The Truth.

"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?

"Now, to address the accusation that we're promoting gay rights."

"Protesters believe that every news story amounts to an official endorsement of its content. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"We publish announcements every week about babies born to unwed mothers. Does that mean we approve of births out of wedlock?

"It doesn't mean that we approve or disapprove. It's news.

"If we ever decide to endorse gay marriage -- or to oppose it -- we will argue our case on this page in a clearly labeled editorial. This is where we state our opinions.

"But our personal beliefs about homosexuality did not influence the decision to publish Sunday's announcement. They didn't even enter into the conversation.

"We received an engagement announcement, and we decided to treat it like every other engagement announcement. We treated it as news."

Well stated. Here is the link, if you want to read it online as well:




Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The Elkhart Truth basiclaly laid it on the line and called out all the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Good for them.

Now, about The Star....did you catch their editorial about the ugly racial profiling incident? I was stunned. It defied logic.

2009-07-31 11:24:06

ruthholl [Member] said:

I will have to look it up, TTT. The editorial pages at the Star are very schizophrenic. You have Tim Swarens technically in charge, and he is conservative.
Then you have Dennis Ryerson and Dan Carpenter, both liberals and moreso.
Russ Pulliam, with his job-for-life, has his column which is often evangelical/Christian.
Somehow this cast has to come up with editorials, so no wonder they often are not cohesive. Dan will never be on the same page with Tim, for example...or rarely, I should say.
I know a couple others occasionally write editorials, but my guess is most of them are the work of Tim and Dan. You can usually tell Dan -- his style is so fluid.
I will look that one up, thank you!

2009-07-31 11:47:47

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The editorial in question is the biggest piece of garbage I've seen on their page in a long while. But, the incident in question did occur in Lawrence, I think, and ya know what happens in that town?

All common sense flies out the window. Something in their water. Literally. Their former mayor screwed the taxpayers with a bad water company deal, and evidently the residue left some bad karma in their water. Silliness abounds in that town. If you doubt it, spend 15 minutes with their current mayor.

2009-07-31 13:06:07

Terrell [Member] said:

Editors get on a slippery slope when pointing out spelling errors in e-mails and letters. If someone you agree with spells something wrong, do you point it out?

2009-07-31 15:31:51

ruthholl [Member] said:

TTT, I finally read that editorial. It was soppy. I can't tell who wrote it -- it was very nonsensical, especially that last graph. 'We all screw up..everyone has a story." Lots of hooey to me.
And yes, that incident, and Lawrence in general, cries out for a good public rap on the knuckles.
Terrell, I can't tell if you are asking me personally if I point out errors or if this is a rhetorical question or intended for the wider audience.
I do know after reading the comments in the Lawrence editorial, the one TTT references, that Star readers don't spell very well or punctuate or use grammar with much ease or accuracy.
As for my personal views, I might point out an error in an email from a son or a daughter, but I doubt if I would do so with a friend/colleague/acquaintance. Even in the first instance, if the intent is clear, I'd probably let it go. If, however, someone sent me an email that was going to be used as part of a resume or introductory job letter or in some other way had a professional purpose, then, yes, I would point out any errors....

2009-08-01 21:26:13

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Glad you read it, Ruth.

Any public employee, much less an LEO, who publicly references an Asian constituent as "Jackie Chan" (on a written form no less) should be suspended for a long time. Or fired. It's not funny, and the allowances made for the LEO who did it, say a great deal about our city. It's disgusting. In this case, we have the original racial slur. And a forgiving police chief. And The Star as our moral compass. A triple play of public morality and racial harmony.

What the hell is wrong with these folks?

2009-08-02 05:54:46

Jonathan [unverified] said:

Thanks for publishing this Ruth. Good exposure of the power of the anti-gay media. I like the reference to some marriages being "illegal" in Indiana. If that's the case, Indiana would prosecute UCC, UUC, MCC, Episcopal, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, and other faith leaders for consecrating same-sex unions. But that would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and that would be illegal.

2009-08-04 19:10:51

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