Back in 1990, no mainstream American newspaper printed same-sex marriage announcements. But by the summer of 2002, when the New York Times printed its first, there were 115 doing so. By 2004, a list compiled by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) showed 504 newspapers printing them -- approximately one-third of the U.S.'s 1,500 dailies.
That list, published by Partners Task Force, included the Journal Times, Kenosha News and Wisconsin State Journal. No doubt, there are more today.
I am not a regular reader of the local paper's wedding announcements, but a disapproving letter to the editor on June 15 confirms that the JT does indeed publish same-sex announcements, although whether this was its first, as the letter states, is something I don't know.
Thomas Rivers of Racine wrote: "By publishing a photo and write up of a homosexual “marriage” in the Sunday paper the Journal has shown a blatant disregard for the values espoused by the vast majority of the citizens, attempted to legitimize that which is unlawful in Wisconsin, and insulted the One who instituted marriage in the beginning.
"I don’t suppose it is necessary to again go over the facts that such unions are described by God as an abomination, a sin, and a behavior that will keep one out of heaven. All people know this to be so. Let us hope this radical first by The Journal Times will also be the last."
But even if wedding pages have given way to the growing reality of same-sex marriages being conducted in California, Massachusetts, the Netherlands and a few other places, and commitment services being held right here in River City (JT columnist Mike Moore wrote on June 1 of one conducted at Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church) -- I was still surprised to have the subject show up in an unlikely place this week: the Journal Times' comics page.
There it was in For Better or Worse, a strip directly above Peanuts, and to the right of Dilbert; not a plot point but rather a gratuitous same-sex marriage reference. I've long given up on the quaint notion that the Funny Pages are supposed to be funny -- but this still struck me as out of place.