It was interesting to read a Poynter Institute article about my former executive editor's quandary at the Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. (I served as Internet Director there for several years.) Though the controversy is a year old now, there's still a lot to be learned from it.
Poynter's Jim Romanesko, one of the most respected and well-known bloggers on the state of the media, writes a pretty hard-hitting summary of what happened. The article gives an interesting glimpse into some of the dissension and confusion that can go on in a newsroom -- even in a pretty "liberal" state -- over the same-sex marriage issue.
Tom Marquardt, the editor, decided to run a story about a lesbian couple with children on Mother's Day and the people in Annapolis did not receive it well. He had to backtrack. Tom is normally pretty savvy about local issues and trends, but got into trouble on this one. It is a very interesting read and you can see a side of the media seldom seen by the public.
Since I mentioned Maryland and am sensitized to the issues there (I lived there almost five years), I can point out that there are a lot of levels to this controversy. The state is still going through a battle on the marriage issue. It is not settled. Even though the marriage law was passed and signed by Governor Martin O'Malley, many in the state have promised to repeal it and have turned it into a ballot issue in the November election. Predominately African-American churches, which tend to be even more outspoken about same-sex "marriage," will probably play a key part. Maryland has many of them, as well as many other churches vehemently against the law. Stay tuned.
BreakPoint audience, please note the part played by the newspaper website and particularly the online commenters. Their immediate reaction is singled out as the reason the paper had to back off. That is one of the reasons we are trying to encourage Christians to stand up and be more vocal online. This is a case where that had a huge impact.