Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hooray for the Laurel Leader-Call!

This is the front page of the Laurel Leader-Call, a small-town Mississippi newspaper. They chose to publish an article about the first-ever gay marriage in Laurel, Mississippi, of Jessica Powell and Crystal Craven.

Being small-town Mississippi (where most people are adamantly opposed to gay marriage), the newspaper had a huge outcry against its decision, and not a very polite or respectful one either. Sadly, GLBT justice brings out the worst in ignorant people. What's even more sad is that Craven has been suffering from brain cancer, but that didn't stop readers from sending hate letters, e-mails, and phone calls and castigating the newspaper staff.

Brave newspaper owner Jim Cegielski defended the newspaper's decision in an editorial, feeling like he needed to speak out against the "hate-filled viciousness" directed at his staff, saying "Any decent newspaper with a backbone can not base decisions on whether to cover a story based on whether the story will make people angry." Most of the complaints were because of the term "historic wedding," but Cegielski said, "You don't have like something for it to be historic."

He then makes this excellent point about these complainers, concerned about their children seeing the newspaper front page:
"We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying 'I don't need my children reading this.' Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children."

Violence, mass destruction, child molestation...all these things are acceptable for children to see but love is not?

I'm glad I live in a state where religious leaders are speaking up to support gay marriage. But in those states that are decades away from voting in favor of gay marriage, we need more people like Mr. Cegielski, willing to stand up against the angry masses and speak in favor of justice. After all, what would Jesus have done? He would have attended the wedding and made a toast.

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