‘Wash. Post’ Runs 1st Legal Gay Wedding Notice

By: Jennifer C. Kerr, Associated Press Writer

(AP) It wasn’t the typical bride and groom photo in The Washington Post “Weddings” section — but rather the smiling faces of two women, happily announcing their marriage after 18 years together.

A gay-rights advocacy group hailed the nuptials notice in the Post as the first announcement of a legally married same-sex couple in a major U.S. newspaper. The announcement appeared in Wednesday’s “Engagements, Weddings and Anniversaries” section.

Evan Wolfson of the New York-based group, Freedom to Marry, said the Post “treated this couple the same as any other married couple and ran their joyous news on the wedding page.”

The couple, Deb Price and Joyce Murdoch of Takoma Park, Md., were married in Toronto on June 27. Although the Price-Murdoch marriage is believed to be the first legally recognized gay marriage carried in a major paper, The New York Times and many other papers have been running announcements of civil unions and notices of various kinds of ceremonies held by gay couples.

Post spokesman Eric Grant said the newspaper moved the Price-Murdoch union to its weddings page because the women were lawfully married. Same-sex commitments and civil unions are usually posted on the “Celebrations” page, which runs a different day of the week.

Some gay-rights groups have objected to the placement of the unions on a separate page, saying it is discrimination.

Similar announcements will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, Grant said. He noted that the advertising department is considering whether to redesign both the weddings and the celebrations pages, but he declined to elaborate.

Price is a nationally syndicated columnist on gay issues for The Detroit News, and is based in Washington. Murdoch is the managing editor for politics at National Journal magazine. The two met at The Washington Post, where they both were editors.

They were able to obtain a legal marriage by going to Canada, where recent court rulings have declared the government’s definition of marriage as unconstitutional because it specified it as the union of a man and a woman.

In the United States, homosexual marriage lacks full legal recognition in all 50 states. Vermont recognizes civil unions that give homosexual couples the full benefits and responsibilities of marriage, but are separate from legal marriage.

Price and Murdoch praised the Post for printing their announcement. “We feel like we are finally first-class citizens,” Murdoch said.

Glennda Testone of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said her group is encouraged by the Post‘s decision.

New York Times spokesman Toby Usnik said his paper has not announced any gay marriages in its celebrations column to date. He said the Times will recognize any such union that occurs in a place where it is legal with “conventional marriage terminology.”

The executive director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Scott Bosley, said he expects more newspapers to expand their weddings and celebrations pages to include legal gay marriages.

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