Bil Browning

Indy Star runs same-sex marriage announcement

Filed By Bil Browning | July 29, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Media

Bilerico-Indiana reader Marie Siroky and her lovely wife CJ (Weiss) Siroky were married in Iowa recently and the Indianapolis Star printed a wedding announcement for the blushing brides.

I spent some time poking around in the Star's archives since I thought I remembered another same-sex marriage announcement that was published a while back, but I couldn't find it online. Fellow blogger and former Star reporter Ruth Holladay, however, went straight to the source. She e-mailed Dennis Ryerson, the Star's Executive Editor.

I asked exec editor Dennis Ryerson if this represented a change in policy. He graciously replied,

"Thanks for asking. It wasn't a first. We've had two or three. Very little if any public response to any of them. Of course this one, with a pastoral associate and divinity student involved, would have been a tough one for some people to get their arms around."

Congratulations to CJ and Marie. Marie was nervous they wouldn't publish the announcement and we e-mailed back and forth several times going through all the possibilities. Would they print it or wouldn't they? Would the brouhaha over the Elkhart Truth's recent publication of a same-sex marriage announcement have any effect? Thankfully, the Star made life easier for the newlyweds.

Kudos to the Star for helping CJ and Marie to share their happiness with the entire community.

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A. J. Lopp | July 29, 2009 1:54 PM

Let's look at this from a legal standpoint:

Since the marriage is legal in the state in which it takes place, and since the announcement would be accepted without question if the couple were straight, and since Indianapolis has a HRO that covers public accommodations, I expect it is a murky question about whether a major paper such as the Indy Star could refuse a same-sex announcement without risk of legal action from the couple. Such a lawsuit might hinge on whether the wedding announcements page in the largest newspaper in the city constitutes a "public accommodation".

I'm not a lawyer --- maybe someone who is might want to weigh in on this.

Many Indiana cities (and practically all the rural areas) don't have HRO's that cover sexual orientation, and in such jurisdictions a decision like this would be more telling. Obviously, the decision not to print would have no basis other than the sheer prejudice of the publisher or the community.

Clearly, the question is not only a legal one. By deciding to print, the Indy Star did run the risk of having a lot of irked right-wingers cancel their subscriptions in protest, and in that regard the publishers do deserve praise for their courage.

I had a chance to meet these lovely ladies recently. My heartfelt congratulations to them both, and many more joyful years together.

Marie and CJ have been kind enough to agree to talk at our (Indy Impact's) next Rally on Coming Out Day OCT 11. We are so proud that members of our community were able to be legally recognized - regardless of federal statutes. Those will change and their marriage WILL BE VALID IN INDIANA.