Pastors protest N.C. paper's inclusion of gay union notices

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 02 2002 12:00 AM ET

Pastors from seven Charlotte, N.C.-area churches met privately Monday with executives of The Charlotte Observer to protest the newspaper's decision to run paid announcements of same-sex unions.

While spokesmen on both sides characterized the meeting as cordial, Observer publisher Peter Ridder said the meeting will not change the newspaper's decision to run the paid announcements. "It was a good dialogue," Ridder said after the 70-minute meeting at Northside Baptist Church. "The group expressed its concern. I certainly respect their position. Hopefully, they understand the rationale behind our decision."

On September 19 Ridder announced that the paper would begin publishing the announcements as a matter of "simple justice and equal access." They are to run in the Sunday "Carolina Living" section, though not on the same pages with weddings, engagements, anniversaries, and births--which many gay activists are less than pleased about.

The Reverend Dan Burrell of the Northside Baptist Church, who organized the meeting, said pastors agreed to continue monitoring the Observer's policy. He also hopes the gathering of pastors marks the start of a coalition committed to opposing the efforts by other institutions they believe to be pro-gay. "We believe this is the first step in the agenda of the radical homosexuals," Burrell said, referring to the publishing of the announcements.