Edit: Good news! As I was adding the final polish to this piece, I saw the news over at BlogKC that the Kansas City Star now claims they will run same-sex announcements. A welcome change in policy, indeed.
The Kansas City Star recently refused to run the wedding announcement of a gay couple from Blue Springs, MO. The couple was married in Iowa, where same-sex marriage was legalized by the Iowa Supreme Court on April 3rd.
This decision by the Star is confusing for multiple reasons. Their rationale is that they are just following Missouri law. Hmmm…Missouri doesn’t have a law banning the announcement of same-sex marriages in other states. That would be a gross violation of the freedom of the press, or what some of us call a first amendment right. No, the Star is referring to the fact that Missouri does not recognize same-sex marriages and therefore neither does the Star (or the Independence Examiner, who also refused the announcement).Funny, because the Star had no problem discussing, and therefore announcing, the celebrity marriage of Ellen DeGeneres to Portia de Rossi in an article titled “Stargazing: A look back at ’08” back on December 30, 2008, or talking about the possibility of DeGeneres and de Rossi marrying at the Bush ranch in a piece called “Talkers: Will Bush say ‘yep’?” on May 25, 2008. Evidently announcing marriages of citizens in other states isn’t an issue, just local same-sex marriages. This bugs me on a 14th amendment level, obviously, but what is really puzzling about this decision has nothing to do with the small-mindedness of the Star’s classified editorial staff. It has to do with the stupid business sense of that same staff.
Please bear with me as I impart some of the wisdom I gathered in journalism school upon the Star staff. Someone wants to fill the classified pages of the Kansas City Star with something, anything, and you say no? Your paper is going the way of the dodo and you act in a way to avoid the extra handfuls of sales that the friends and family of these men would provide? You should be begging for sales, begging for anything that would help make one more payment on your giant glass monument to the days of yore. You are dinosaurs and you forget your place.
It remains unclear exactly why the Star wouldn’t run the announcement, since their stated reason is obvious malarkey. KMBC-TV was not afraid of this story and they deserve credit for that, even if they can’t figure out how to format video correctly for the web or let pithy bloggers like me embed said video. Watch the story, you’ll see what I mean on all counts.
Full disclosure: I was once an in utero member of the Kansas City Star classified staff.