DMN editor blames ban on same-sex wedding announcements on the business department

Bob Mong

On Thursday we mentioned the Dallas Morning News’ policy prohibiting same-sex wedding announcements. The DMN will publish same-sex marriages, but only in a section called “Commitments” and not in the section called “Weddings.” As one commenter put it, “Requiring that it be announced as a ‘commitment’ makes it sound like a psychiatric situation.” Instant Tea reader Elizabeth Parker says she was shocked to learn of this policy, and ever since then she’s been contacting people at The DMN trying to get an explanation. Here’s the response Parker says she received from DMN editor Bob Mong:

Dear Ms. Parker,

Thanks for writing.

I am very proud of our news coverage of gay and lesbian issues. I would put it up against any in the country. Just recently we published prominent stories on GuideSunday and in our Metro sections; one about gay/straight relationships at a Denton bistro, the other about a gay teacher helping gay high schoolers circumvent the public schools. Countless other subjects have been covered routinely by our writers, photographers and columnists in a completely unfettered manner over the years. I would be the first to say we’ve not always been as complete as we could have been, but for much of the post-1990 era of the paper, the coverage has matured and become more focused on this topic. For most readers of the paper, that should be clear – don’t you think.

The issue you refer to is not a news policy but rather an advertising policy. All “Celebration” topics – marriages, commitments, engagements, anniversaries – are handled through the advertising department. Several years ago the paper began publishing gay/lesbian unions under this advertising banner. While only a small number of people buy these ads, they are available. You correctly characterize the policy. I have indeed received some criticism lately from the national GLAAD organization about this policy, and while it is not a news issue, I have forwarded their concerns to the business folks at the paper, just as I have forwarded your letter. As with any policy, it is always subject to review.

I appreciate your taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

Bob Mong, editor

—  John Wright