The publisher of the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era on Monday strongly defended his paper’s decision to reject a gay couple’s engagement announcement, saying that it wasn’t “consistent with prevailing community standards.”
By the end of the day, Harold E. Miller changed his mind and told readers:
Lancaster Newspapers’ mission is to provide a means to communicate news and information directly to all residents of Lancaster County. We recognize that while our readers have many different interests and values, every reader looks to us to weave news and information of Lancaster County’s people into a daily chronicle of our community.
Engagement, marriage and anniversary announcements are meaningful expressions of love and caring and deserve to be published. We have reconsidered our previous position on this issue and we will publish all such announcements within our Celebrations pages in the Sunday News. We are publishing these announcements without passing judgment, in an effort to fully serve our community and all of our readers.
We appreciate the many comments we received on this issue. Interacting with our readers has been and will continue to be very important to us.
Miller tells his newspaper that his decision wasn’t based on threats to cancel subscriptions or advertising.
“The economic issues weren’t a factor here. It was: What content was right for our newspapers to publish. The revision was because we had such good dialogue with people in the past 24 hours.” (There are more than 180 comments on Monday’s story about the couple’s announcement being rejected, and dozens more on the paper’s Facebook page.)
Miller called the men who tried to place the notice to tell them about the policy change and to apologize. “We’re going to take this as a victory that Lancaster Newspapers decided to make the smart and correct decision,” says Jeffrey Clouser. (He writes on his Facebook wall: “The outcry of support is overwhelming. Who says god doesn’t believe in our love now?”)