Gay Couple Denied Wedding Announcement by Major NH Newspaper

Nh

Dan Savage points us to this unfortunate story from New Hampshire.

Greg and Aurelio, who are marrying this weekend in Manchester, New Hampshire, where same-sex marriage became legal on January 1, are being denied a wedding announcement by the Union-Leader, New Hampshire's second-largest paper.

Kate Parker writes:

The wedding is this Saturday and I received a phone call from Greg yesterday letting me know that he tried to get their wedding announced in the Union Leader, since Greg was from the Manchester, NH area.  He was told that they don’t allow gay weddings to be announced and he asked to talk to the editor.  The editor simply told him it has been the “policy of the newspaper” and that as the editor, he has the write (sic) to print whatever he’d like.  This immediately outraged me, as Greg and Aurelio are legally allowed to marry in NH, NH has anti-discrimination laws in place that include sexual orientation, but because of the 1st Amendment, they were out of luck.

This is where this story gets so much more upsetting, and I thank Greg and Aurelio for allowing me to share their situation:

Aurelio is in the process of becoming a US citizen.  He has his social security number, and his driver’s license.  Venezuela is a very conservative country and many citizens don’t support gay marriage or homosexuality in general.  Actually, this fact is so true, that half of Aurelio’s family just discovered he was gay when we sent their wedding invitation to them last week.  Because of this fact, Greg and Aurelio wanted to make their wedding as public as possible in the US in order to plead to a judge to allow him to stay in the US for fear of his safety from his countrymen should be return to Venezuela as an openly gay man.

Contact information for the Union-Leader, should you wish to use it, is here.

Comments

  1. Matt26 says

    Talking about civil rights and freedom of press.
    I hope they have a good marriage and lots of happiness.

  2. DN says

    It’s stuff like this the last couple years that has made me decide not to pursue citizenship, but to live permanently as a foreign alien resident.

  3. Bill says

    All you have to do is look at the editorial page for that poor excuse for a newspaper. It is full of endorsements for Republican candidates and Obama-bashing.

    It is doubtful the paper will care about angry reaction to their story. Writing to their advertisers and questioning whether they really want to spend money with that paper might yield better results.

  4. MrRoboto says

    It’s a damn shame about the announcement and I wish these gentlemen all the best in their coming marriage. But, to be devil’s advocate, there are going to be those who try to paint this as a marriage of convenience (a green card marriage). Of course, we know that, even with same-sex unions legal in New Hampshire, that has no impact whatsoever on Mr. Aurelio’s immigration status because DOMA stands in the way of that. But the naysayers aren’t going to see that. They’re going to see a nakedly political intent in this whole thing, i.e. that the marriage, the announcement, etc. was all to designed to show how bad Mr. Aurelio would have it back in Venezuela if his naturalization efforts hit a snag.

    I don’t see it that way because I know that DOMA makes the marriage, the announcement, etc. matter very little in the immigration issue. But most, who don’t live with the impact of DOMA in their lives every day, don’t know that.

  5. homo genius says

    This is a good example of real “bullying” gays face. What does this say to young and confused gays. Even if HS was a hug-fest, society at large is still the bully.

  6. Mike C. says

    I sympathise with them, but I don’t see how the Venezuela argument fits in and think it’s total BS. If he wanted to come out to his family by not talking to them and sending them a wedding invitation out of the blue, seems like a poor decision. Venezuela has a more progressive record on gay rights than many other Latin America and Western Hemisphere countries. For instnace, Chavez openly expresses support for the LGBT rights movement, homosexuality is NOT criminalised in Venezuela, AND, Venezuela has a employment non-discrimination law on sexual orientation (we can’t even pass ENDA!!)

    He should be applying for a green card, and if he is having trouble getting a green card due to some undisclosed immigration problems, he should not be seeking asylum saying his life would be in danger in Venezuela. That’s total BS. There are actually countries out there where gay men and women do need protection and asylum, Venezuela is not one of them.

  7. David in Houston says

    From what I gather from their website, The Union Leader is a conservative newspaper, not a Christian church. So I’m not really sure how the 1st Amendment applies here. A secular newspaper does not endorse or practice a particular belief. Therefore, since same-sex marriage IS legal in the state of New Hampshire, they have an obligation to treat gay couples exactly the same as straight couples. Their function is to represent ALL of the citizens of Manchester, not just heterosexual conservative Christians. They are 100% wrong on this issue.

    On a side note: They are a very handsome couple. Mazel tov!

  8. Craig says

    From a legal standpoint, marrying his partner shows his intent to stay in the U.S., which would violate the terms of his visa of entry (which require proof that the visit is only temporary) unless he already has a green card for permanent residence. Yes, welcome to Barack Obama’s America, where marrying your same sex partner can lead to deportation.

  9. Hawthorne says

    I suggest they try placing their wedding accouncment in the Concord Monitor. The Union Leader is a rabid right wing paper which, unfortunately, has the NH distribution market covered. They are the ‘major’ NH newspaper. The Concord Monitor, although smaller in circulation, is I think more gay-friendly than the UL.

  10. Jon B says

    I’ll play Devil’s advocate too… if he has a social security number and driver’s license, it means he’s actually working towards citizenship legally. If that’s the case then he wouldn’t be seeking assylum from a judge. You shouldn’t try to publicize something in order to create animosity for yourself in your home country. Plus, I believe you usually are supposed to flee for fear of persecuation from the government, or show the government is allowing the persecution. You don’t drum up the potential for persecution while away, and claim assylum… Especially since you can’t prove personal harm in that case. Ugh… I’m happy for these two are getting married… Pissed that the newspaper won’t publish gay announcements… and confused about the whole immigration angle thrown in there.

  11. Ted B. says

    While stupid in the paper’s part since gay marriage is legal in NH, the newspaper has total freedom on what it chooses as “editorial content” including wedding announcements.
    Where the paper would be in legal hot-water would be if they denied a paid ad announcing the same upcoming wedding…that would potentially be discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  12. MikeMick says

    The Union Liar is a rag and a right-wing scream sheet — on its good days. If you wrapped a fish in it, the fish would drag itself out.

  13. Brent Z says

    Sad, but no surprise, really, to anyone familiar with this piece of crap right-wing “news”paper.

  14. Tomas says

    The immigration angle should have been completely left out of this, it tarnishes the whole story. Like some of you said earlier, it suggests he might be trying to use the article in order to contort his story in some unethical (and maybe illegal) appeal for asylum. People who do things like that make immigration more difficult for everyone else.

  15. Aaron says

    Who needs a newspaper when you’re beautiful and in love?

    As the roots of a tree intertwine with another to make each other stronger, may your love grow and deepen. May you consciously, continuously turn toward each other instead of away.

  16. Mike C. says

    You need the newspaper if you are trying to drum up publicity for your marriage in order to create the illusion of facing persecution in your home country so you unethically can take advantage of US refugee asylum laws. Which is what Aurelio feels like he needs to do because he doesn’t want to go back to Venezuela since he’s found a rich boyfriend in the First World.

  17. John says

    Can we please refrain from calling the veracity of these two men into question based on two paragraphs and a picture? Reading some of these comments makes me ill. Lets focus on the facts and work to change perception rather than wildly speculating about someone’s immigration status.

  18. Theo says

    Hummm…a bit confused. I do not know much about the relationship between having social security and immigration. I have always thought that you have to have green card to have social security number issued. But it does not seem to be the case here. Sound like Aurelio does not have a green card yet. And just a dump question, if he actually already has a green card, can he marry his partner in states that same sex marriage is legal?

  19. tom a says

    The best, and most noteworthy, thing about this post is learning that the U-L is no longer the largest paper in NH!

    Go Nashua!

  20. Teresa says

    It’s insane that the paper refuses to print it. Greg and Aurelio deserve to have their announcement in the paper like anyone else. No one has to read it if they don’t like it. It is so very frustrating that this country/world even has to go through this battle. Whatever happened to keeping church & state separate? Or how about equal opportunity? Treating each individual person as a human being even if we don’t agree what one does. It’s nobody’s business who marry’s who.
    Big congrats to Greg and Aurelio. I hope they have a wonderful marriage and the best of luck in life.

  21. Rob says

    The Union Leader is my hometown paper, and it’s terrible, right wing and ridiculous (they twice endorsed Pat Robertson for president). However, like any other paper, they have no legal obligation to print anything. It’s the same as the NY Times only running wedding announcements of couples that have some amount of renown or wealth.

  22. Adam says

    I posted a congrats to these guys on the Union Leaders FB page. It has since been removed. I reposted a new one, let’s see how long it takes them to get rid of this one since it’s now after five there

  23. me says

    Suggested letter to the Advertisers on their website, and to the NH Union-Leader (I just sent it — please also send it):

    To:
    harvard_pilgrim_online@harvardpilgrim.org, eric_schultz@hphc.org, mail@nhlawoffice.com, tmarsella@rangerdata.com, dcrowley@ivek.com, co@concordlincolnmercury.com, cf@concordlincolnmercury.com, memberservices@necu.org, pkavalauskas@necu.org

    CC:

    editor@unionleader.com, finan@unionleader.com, sports@unionleader.com, calendar@unionleader.com, weekend@unionleader.com, family@unionleader.com, religion@unionleader.com, veterans@unionleader.com, obits@unionleader.com, letters@unionleader.com, library@unionleader.com, family@unionleader.com

    Subject:

    You are supporting discrimination by advertising in the NH Union-leader

    Body:

    Hi,

    You advertise in the New Hampshire Union-Leader: http://screencast.com/t/l5e7X5faKRng .

    The NH UL is a discriminatory newspaper which has a policy of not publishing same-sex wedding announcements, even though they are legal in New Hampshire. The information of this discriminatory policy comes directly from the editor from the newspaper, who states that as the editor he has the right to discriminate.

    See article here: http://www.towleroad.com/2010/10/gay-couple-denied-wedding-announcement-by-major-nh-newspaper.html .

    I likewise have the right to tell everyone who will listen that you are supporting discrimination with your ad dollars and should be boycotted.

    By supporting discrimination, hatred, and ignorance, you are guilty by association. I am writing to ensure you that I will broadcast your discriminatory policies to everyone I can, and that if the subject of your company ever comes up the first thing out of my mouth will be how you support discriminatory organizations with your funds.

    If you ever change your policy of funding discrimination, please let me know.

    You seem to be proud to support discrimination; I am proud to boycott.

  24. JT says

    Not to be cynical, but perhaps they never intended to have the announcement actually run in a right wing crazy paper. If you were trying to make a wedding as public as possible, would you rather have it run in a local newspaper that only people from the region have ever heard of and an even smaller percentage actually read the announcements, or would you take the chance of the paper discriminating and you getting national coverage? Not that I’m faulting them for gaming the system if that’s the case. When life gives you systematic societal discrimination, make…systematicsocietaldiscriminationade.

  25. FlexSF says

    We must destroy bigotry, and financially devastate business that behave like the Union Leader.

    May the Union Leader’s leaders live miserable lives. I hold zero tolerance for zealotry.

  26. Erin says

    The Union Leader is a piece of garbage and I wouldn’t use it to line a pet’s cage. Greg and Aurelio, I have it on good authority that the Keene Sentinel would be more than happy to run your announcement, if you are still looking for relatively local newspapers.

  27. Adam says

    The bigots at this trashy print-version of Fox news have blocked me from their FB page for asking for a response to this crap. They kept deleting my comments and finally blocked me altogether today. i emailed all their advertisers i could find and the editor himself. I don’t expect a response at this point. This is just sad.

  28. Cointower says

    The Concord Monitor publishes wedding announcements from all, and indeed did so before gay marriage was legalized. There have been two such announcements published since marriage became legal this year. It also published a full-page account of a civil union: http://bit.ly/dwUjJv

  29. Kate says

    Claiming their paper’s position isn’t anti-gay, but pro-heterosexual marriage is like the Nazis saying they weren’t anti-Jewish, just pro-maintaining the Aryan lifestyle. And if they think the average reader can’t read between the lines they really have no business in publishing.

  30. BooHoo says

    I’m glad “The Manchester Union Leader” is sticking to its’ principles. Why are gays so caught up in these trite straight conventions? Stop comparing yourself to straights and make the unpleasant discovery that your married gay life isn’t what you expected either. If you want attention go streak through Manchester.