The Laurel Leader-Call, a newspaper in Jones County, Mississippi, is defending its decision to publish a story on the wedding of Jessica Powell and Crystal Craven, a lesbian couple married earlier this month, despite a rash of vicious Facebook posts, emails, calls and cancellations.
In an op-ed to readers, titled "Doing our job", Leader-Call owner Jim Cegielski wrote:
We were well aware that the majority of people in Jones County are not in favor of gay marriage. However, 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.
The job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn’t take place or ignoring it because it will upset people. No, our job is to inform reads what is going on in our own and let them make their own judgments. That is exactly what we did with the wedding story. Our reporter heard about the wedding, attended it, interviewed some of the participants and wrote a news story. If there had been protestors at the wedding, we would have covered that the exact same way… but there weren’t any. We never said it was a good thing or a bad thing, we simply did our job by telling people what took place.
Cegielski also addressed those who resented the word “historic” being used in the headline and condemned the epithets heralded at the paper's staff:
You don’t have to like something for it to be historic. The Holocaust, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Black Sox scandal are all historic. I’m in no way comparing the downtown wedding of two females to any of those events—even though some of you made it quite clear that you think gay marriage is much worse—I’m just saying that whether you liked the story or not, the first known gay wedding to take place in Jones County is still historic.
I can’t help but be saddened by the hate-filled viciousness of many of the comments directed toward our staff… No one here deserves to be berated or yelled at simply because we were doing our job.
GLAAD applauds the Laurel Leader-Call staff and its owner Jim Cegielski for dutifully reporting the news of Jessica and Crystal's wedding.
Show your support for The Laurel Leader-Call's decision by leaving positive messages on their Facebook page.
(h/t: Queerty.com )