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‘Announcing Equality’ campaign expanded by GLAAD
Group cites 584 percent increase in daily newspapers running civil union/wedding announcements for same-sex couples

by Marc McCarthy

‘Announcing Equality’ gives us a tremendous opportunity to engage the media as a platform to affirm our relationships and celebrations and share them with the broader community.’
— Neil Giuliano, president of GLAAD
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), announced Jan. 16 the relaunch and expansion of GLAAD’s landmark “Announcing Equality” campaign, citing a dramatic 584 percent increase in the number of newspapers that accept same-sex wedding announcements since the project’s groundbreaking launch in 2002.
“In cities and small towns all over the country, communities are seeing the lives of their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) family members, friends and neighbors reflected in their media outlets,” said Giuliano. “The presence of these stories humanizes and personalizes the experiences of our community. The fact that these announcements for celebrations of gay and lesbian couples appear alongside announcements for their straight neighbors has the power to spur the kinds of everyday conversations that will change hearts and minds.”

Five years after persuading The New York Times to open its Weddings/Celebrations pages to same-sex couples and launching the “Announcing Equality” campaign, GLAAD reported that 883 newspapers — nearly 60 percent of all daily newspapers in the United States — now accept wedding and/or commitment ceremony announcements for gay and lesbian couples. That number has increased nearly 584 percent since it was first measured in 2002, when only 129 newspapers said they would print such announcements.

Among the Announcing Equality campaign’s other successes:
• All of the nation’s top 50 media markets and 99 of the top 100 are home to at least one newspaper with an inclusive announcement policy.

• An estimated 75 percent of all U.S. newspaper readers read a paper that accepts wedding announcements from same-sex couples.

• All 50 states and the District of Columbia have newspapers that print same-sex union announcements. (In 2004, Mississippi was the lone holdout.)

• 319 U.S. daily newspapers have printed at least one same-sex union announcement.
GLAAD also reported that a small percentage of newspapers have changed to less inclusive policies since the list was last updated in 2004, with approximately three percent now saying that they have reversed an inclusive policy since 2004, and two percent saying they have changed from an inclusive policy to “no policy.” Currently, 374 daily newspapers (25 percent) say they will not print same-sex union announcements, and 217 (15 percent) say they do not have a policy in this area.
“‘Announcing Equality’ gives us a tremendous opportunity to engage the media as a platform to affirm our relationships and celebrations and share them with the broader community,” said Giuliano. “Our job at GLAAD is to help the media reflect what’s happening within the community that it serves. The increase in newspapers with inclusive policies shows the progress we’ve made in ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation in our newsrooms.”

As part of the expansion of the “Announcing Equality” campaign spearheaded by Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs, GLAAD is urging local LGBT community members and their friends and families to reach out to newspapers that currently reject or do not accept wedding announcements for gay and lesbian couples. Only a small handful of major metropolitan newspapers do not yet have inclusive announcement policies, among them: Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Virginian-Pilot, Omaha World Herald, Oklahoman, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

GLAAD is also expanding the scope of the “Announcing Equality” campaign to encompass other kinds of announcements from birth announcements and baptisms to anniversaries and graduations, as well as other forms of media. Community members are now encouraged to announce their celebrations and share their stories in office newsletters, union periodicals, church bulletins and other publications.

To further support the relaunch of “Announcing Equality,” GLAAD has enhanced www.glaad.org to include personal wedding/civil union announcements along with a selection of resource materials, including the list of papers with inclusive policies, a toolkit to help guide couples as they submit their announcements to their local papers and sample articles that encapsulate the spirit of the campaign.

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