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PA Newspaper Refuses To Run Same-Sex Wedding Announcement

A gay couple in Lancaster, PA, were surprised to see their engagement announcement rejected from a local newspaper because it wasn’t “consistent with prevailing community standards.”

Jeffrey Clouser and Brent Weaver had hoped to put a paid $25 announcement in the Lancaster Sunday News but were rebuffed by the advertising department in an email. “I wanted to put it out there like any other couple has the right to put it out there,” said Clouser. “Lancaster, I was hoping, would be a little more progressive.” Clouser have been a couple for seven years and hope to marry in a state that has legalized marriage equality.

Lest you think this was the work of an overzealous ad rep, Lancaster Newspapers Inc. CEO Harold E. Miller issued the following statement:

“Our readers have come to depend upon our judgment, taste, tone and discretion in publishing advertising to be admitted into their homes,” Miller said. “They select our newspapers because of these qualities and we believe we are obligated to uphold their selection by declining to publish advertising announcements and notices which, in our opinion, are not consistent with prevailing community standards.”

In an interview with the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal (which he owns), Miller clarified that prevailing community standards are “what we believe to be the most typical behavior in the entire Lancaster County community.”

Some members of the community, though are outraged at the paper’s reactionary stance: Two women picketed Lancaster Newspapers’ West King Street office today, carrying a sign that read “Free the press, print all engagement announcements.” And Lancaster resident Scott Shumaker has started an online petition asking the paper to reverse its decision and for Miller to issue an apology. “I was extremely disappointed and surprised by the news,” Shumaker tells Queerty. I thought we were more progressive than this—we have major art institutions and universities,” like Franklin Marshall.
Shumaker says he and his partner have canceled their subscription to the Intelligencer-Journal and are considering contacting some of the paper’s larger advertisers. “Since the story broke yesterday, everyone in the gay community here has been talking about it.”
We’re surprised too—who’d think a dead-tree outlet would turn down anyone’s money.
On:           Jun 4, 2012
    • 1equalityUSA

      Separate drinking fountains too?

      Jun 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • codyj

      what do you expect??? its heart of the AMISH country….that time warp of the 1800s,
      where if a son or daughter comes out as ‘gay’…they are SHUNNED…which means EVERYONE connected with them, and their entire life..will no longer speak to them..’its over’
      Im NOT making this up…check out their history and customs…(being gay is being DEVIL POSSESED)

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colin

      If they don’t like the paper and the community standards then they should move to a place that will welcome their lives. Same-sex marriage is not even legal in PA in the first place.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • VladT

      Codyj is correct. Corruption and intolerance go hand-in-hand in these here parts of rural PA; even in the suburban/urban cunt-y county seat. The conservative politics and religiosity are not really the “good PR” that the newspaper’s editorship and Board might believe, though, and they will find out just how much they have strained OUR tolerance sooner rather than later.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • anthony

      Eveeybody knows that the aside from a fraction of Harrisburg, (the state capital) PA is like the U.S. liberal on the coasts, Phiily and Pittsburgh, and the middle is a strange combo of Mississippi and Kansas…

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • abel

      @Colin: So, 60 years ago, would you have told blacks
      to move back to Africa?

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alisha

      lancaster has a pride festival and a VERY gay community.. they’re going to hear about this..

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • George Deeming

      I lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for nearly 10 years from the mid-90’s to 2005 with my male partner and during that time I found that the people of that city were the most close minded of any I have ever seen with my next store neighbor sliding anti-gay leaflets under our doors and telling us to our faces that she was praying for our immortal souls on a weekly basis to a Century-21 real Estate Agent say that neither us nor any of ‘our kind’ were welcome in Lancaster or Lancaster County and if it were up to her we’d never find housing anywhere within 150 miles of that city. I only stayed for the job but got out when it got absolutely intollerable. They wave the flag and claim to be American but hate Americans … and I am a Vietnam veteran with an honorable discharge.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colin

      @abel: Yes. In fact I’d still tell them that today.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay

      George Deeming that’s BS. I also have lived in Lancaster for a lot longer than you do and we have a very large LGBT community here and people are accepting of LGBT people here even the Amish.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brandon

      Colin is a homophobic and rac!st fuck. Go back into your troll cave. I’m black and I guess you would have told my grandparents to go back to Africa.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brandon

      Also Colin why the fcuk should I go back to Africa just because I’m black? They kill gay and bisexual men there! They hate Americans in a lot of African countries! STFU you rac!st troll. Not everyone that’s LGBT wants to or can just afford to up and move and we certainly don’t want to live in a GLBT ghetto.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Macmantoo

      Lately on all sites there have been people like Colin going in and attacking gays and their lives. His sole purpose is to make everyone feel as uneasy as possible.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Shumaker

      The paper reversed its decision!

      Jun 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Shumaker

      Statement from Publisher Harold E. Miller

      A Message from Lancaster Newspapers
      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.
      Harold Miller

      Jun 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1equalityUSA

      Harold E. Miller, Thanks for including everyone in your Celebrations pages of your newspaper. It takes courage to stand up to hatred and bigotry. I applaud your leadership.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • w.e.

      Haven’t heard that “community standards” line in a long time. As I remember it was applied to pornography, so the reference is clear by the publisher. Gay people are obscene.

      Jun 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bailey


      It was his leadership of hate that led to this policy in the first place. The only thing worth applauding is that he didn’t double-down on this policy. It was only changed due to negative feedback and ultimately, profits.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 12:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlos

      At least the newspaper is now going to run the announcement. I agree with 1equalityUSA this man is standing up against hate and bigotry.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 1:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric in Chicago

      I don’t take my moral compass from a community that supports puppy mills and the abuse of animals for profit.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 2:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Belize

      @Colin: “Yes. In fact I’d still tell them that today.”

      Well, I’d tell you to go back to school, but I’m guessing you never went. :)

      Jun 5, 2012 at 2:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Belize

      @Brandon: “Not everyone that’s LGBT wants to or can just afford to up and move…”

      Don’t get upset. It’s just Colin’s way of getting people to leave their homes to live in places like his hick town. That way, the population will grow and he wouldn’t have to keep breeding with his second cousins.

      @Macmantoo: That’s because they’re losing ground. It is that simple.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 2:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Casey

      It’s Lancaster. It’s become more progressive, but still has a ways to go. I’m putting in my engagement notice to the Wilkes-Barre, PA area papers soon. Hope I have better luck.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 8:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason

      CEO Harold Miller is a vile little prick. I’d like to look at his sexual history. We may find out things that he or his wife won’t like. I’ve got people doing research.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 8:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon

      I’m glad to see Mr. Miller has reversed his decision, but his initial decision (the rejection of the announcement) was most certainly not under the umbrella of “the most typical behavior of the Lancaster community.” As a citizen of Lancaster and a former member of our Pride board, I promise you that the city at large does not share Mr. Miller’s views. The mayoral office, the local representatives, and the businesses are all incredibly LGBT-affirming, and Lancaster is actually one of the municipalities in PA that, in lieu of statewide protection, has opted to pass non-discrimination policies that protect LGBT people within city limits.

      Mr. Miller is out of touch. Perhaps he should actually speak with the people that buy his paper instead of guessing what he thinks they want.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 8:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez

      @Colin: Another element of stupidity from Collin. Yes, lets have every gay in the United States move to MA. Maybe they like where they are living and just want to change it for the better?

      Jun 5, 2012 at 8:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez

      @Macmantoo: Lately, this has happened since there was an internet. There have always been anti-gay trolls on gay sites. I remember this from the time I first discovered gay sites and that was sometime in 1997. At this point, they come across as rather humorous. They have to step up their efforts now though since it is quite obvious that they already lost in the realm of public opinion.

      How about we take every single homophobe in the country and move them to Kansas. It would be allot easier than moving every gay person and their allies since that is like a good 75% of the population.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 9:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez

      @Scott Shumaker: Translation:

      Our sponsors were pissed because we showed ourselves as homophobic asshats, and that means that people might think they are homophobic as well, and since the gay dollar speaks highly in this country they want to avoid pissing off the group with the most disposable income.

      We got a lot of backlash from our subscribers as well because the ones that are not gay know someone that is and were pissed off. They started cancelling subscriptions.

      Since we are already on a shoestring budget and spend more than we take in, we can not afford to lose our subscribers and our sponsors just because we are homophobic, and that means that this time we will backpedal and print this even though we absolutely do not agree with it.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 9:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chas

      @George Deeming: You should of reported the Century-21 agent to the PA. Board of Realtors. What the agent said to you is illegal and should of been investigated and their license revocked.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chas

      Tyed too fast. I meant revoked.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RK

      only 355 signed the petition. Such great support!

      Jun 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim

      @Colin: Americans have a long tradition of taking a stand and fighting for equal rights, not running.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LaTeesha

      The newspaper decided last night to reverse its decision. It will now print the engagement announcements.

      Jun 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike

      @Colin: way to blame the victims.

      Jun 6, 2012 at 10:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rev. Angela Stouder

      When I heard that there was actually a newspaper that was willing to take a stand against homosexuality, I was pleased to hear that. Someone willing to take a stand and go against political correctness of this world. God intended marriage to be one man and one woman. There are no other combinations in the Bible; none. But you, Mr. Miller, have caved in to the pressure that these individuals put on your paper. You should be ashamed of your self. Where is your back bone? I was always taught that you must stand for something because if you don’t you will fall for anything. You know if you had stood strong on this issue, you may have found that there would have been support for you in the community that is proudly straight. God does not honor those who do wrong and by giving into this issue, Mr. Miller, you are doing wrong and you are not honoring God or be doing what you should to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God.

      Jun 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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