We shouldn't have to defend every decision we make here at the Leader-Call … However, the intense reaction to our gay wedding front page story, which led to a deluge of hate calls, letters, emails, Facebook posts, soundoffs and random cross stares thrown in my direction, warrants some sort of response. So here it is.
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 readers what is going on in our town 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 ... We never said it was a good thing or a bad thing, we simply did our job by telling people what took place.
I took the bulk of the irate phone calls from people who called the paper to complain. Most of the complaints seem to revolve around the headline, "Historic Wedding," and the fact that we chose to put the story on the front page. My answer to the "Historic Wedding" headline is pretty simple. You don't have to like something for it to be historic.
The Holocaust, 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). 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.
I had at least 20 or so readers express to me they think gay marriage is "an abomination against God." We never said it wasn't. We never said it was.