NYT 's Big Gay Celebration

More than 300 same-sex wedding or commitment announcements have appeared in The New York Times in the past seven years -- now many of the featured couples are coming together to commemorate Stonewall.

BY Charles Kaiser

June 02 2009 12:00 AM ET

Alan Van Capelle and Matthew Morningstar Xlrg (courtesy) | advocate.com

All that changed very
dramatically when Arthur Sulzberger Jr. succeeded his father as
publisher in 1992 and as chairman of the New York Times Co. in
1997. Sulzberger Jr. made it clear to everyone that he would
not tolerate an iota of prejudice against the paper's LGBT
employees, and the decision to start running same-sex wedding
announcements was the culmination of that philosophy.

Kim Severson is a

food reporter who announced her commitment to her partner,
Katia Hetter,
in the paper

three years ago.

The first thing
Severson reads every morning is the sports section, but on
Sundays the first thing Katia reads are the wedding
announcements ("as if they were the sports section,"
Severson says) -- so the announcement was most important to
Hetter. But Severson concedes, "The

announcement added a level of legitimacy that would have been
missing -- there's nothing else like a wedding announcement in


And there's nothing
quite like the reach of the

either. When Laurence Diamond married Grant Schneider, the
five-paragraph announcement

caught the attention of someone Schneider hadn't heard from
since they were in 10th grade biology together. "I grew up in
a small town in Georgia," Schneider says. "The guy
confessed to me that he had gotten married, but then he got
divorced -- and now he's with a man."

Alan Van Capelle,
executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, and his
partner, Matthew Morningstar, were both 32 when their
commitment ceremony was written about in the paper.

Morningstar was a
graduate of Columbia College and Cornell Law School, while Van
Capelle got his BA from Queens College in New York City.


demanded to see copies of Matthew's diplomas," says Van
Capelle. "But they never asked for mine. I guess they thought
no one would lie about going to Queens College."

Van Capelle says the

didn't care that "one of my grandfathers was one of the last
Dutch governor-generals of Indonesia or that my father was a
vice president of his international union." But the fact that
his partner's mother was "retired as the first vice
chairwoman of the women's committee of the National Symphony
Orchestra in Washington" was deemed newsworthy by the paper
of record.

Tags: Media