"[It was] the right thing to do," said James M. Moroney III, publisher of The Dallas Morning News - the newspaper with the second-highest circulation in Texas (including Sunday circulation).
Moroney was referring to the paper's change in policy with regard to wedding announcements. Effective immediately, the paper will now publish the legal wedding announcements of gay and lesbian couples in the "Weddings" section of the Sunday edition and online. Prior to the change, which was officially announced July 1, wedding announcements from gay and lesbian couples married in states where marriage is legal were printed under the banner of "Commitments." That policy was certainly a step in the right direction, but we are pleased to report that the paper's wedding announcement policy is now fully inclusive of legally married gay and lesbian couples.
"When you do the right thing, you just do the right thing," said Moroney in response to questions about whether the revised policy would elicit negative feedback from some readers. "I believe that publishing same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legally allowed, that publishing those under the Weddings heading in our newspaper, is the right thing to do."
Mark Reed-Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup. The couple's wedding announcement will appear in The Dallas Morning News on July 17.
Undoubtedly, lots of folks are thrilled to hear this news, but perhaps none more so than Mark Reed-Walkup and his partner of 11 years, Dante Walkup. Residents of Irving, Texas, Mark and Dante were legally married in Washington, D.C., last year. At the time, they were advised by The Dallas Morning News (DMN) that their wedding announcement would run in the paper - but only under "Commitments," not the "Weddings" section. In December, following GLAAD's outreach to DMN on behalf of the couple, Mark and Dante filed a discrimination complaint against the paper, alleging that their policy at the time violated a Dallas city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation. Though attorneys for DMN had indicated the paper would stand by their former policy, Moroney and DMN Editor Bob Mong met with Mark and Dante last Thursday and advised them that the policy would become fully inclusive.
Mark and Dante's wedding announcement will appear in the print edition of The Dallas Morning News on July 17. The couple's announcement will be also be featured on the paper's website for one week. It will remain retrievable indefinitely.
The couple says this issue was important to them because wedding announcements will allow young gay and lesbian people to see that marriage is possible for them too.
"We are thrilled with this decision and thank The Dallas Morning News for making this historic change," said the couple in a statement issued July 1. "The new policy shows respect for our marriage and future couples who place a wedding ad with The Dallas Morning News."
GLAAD applauds The Dallas Morning News for revising their policy to become fully inclusive of legally married gay and lesbian couples. We also applaud Mark and Dante for persistence that really paid off- not only for them, but also for generations to come. For several years now, GLAAD has encouraged LGBT people to join us in Announcing Equality, for it is in sharing the most significant moments of our lives (our joys and our sorrows) that we underscore our commonly-held values with the communities of which we are a part.