Logan paper's lesbian wedding ad hits nerves

For publishing the announcement, The Herald-Journal lost some subscribers
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The marriage announcement of a lesbian couple published in a Logan newspaper is generating some heat in the northern Utah community.

The Kresta Spencer and Carrie Taylor ad about their upcoming union in Salt Lake City ran July 27 in The Herald-Journal.

Since then, the newspaper has received two letters to the editor (one for and one against), 10 e-mails, several phone calls and four subscription cancellations over publication of the announcement.

A Friday letter to the editor denouncing the ad drew about 160 pro and con comments on the paper's Web site by late Monday. The missive was written by Narayne Rougeau, a North Logan resident.

"Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the State of Utah and cannot be performed here," Rougeau wrote. "I would also suggest that you change the name of the section of the paper to 'weddings, engagements and live-ins or other relationships' since you obviously seem content to publish out-of-wedlock living arrangements as actual marriages."

The paper Monday published a letter by Logan resident Lezlie Blazzard congratulating the women.

The paper released a statement Friday, saying editors followed a policy on gay-wedding announcements - written in 2006 in case the situation ever arose. The Spencer-Taylor ad was the first.

"Since wedding announcements are paid space . . . the newspaper management feels a responsibility to give all paying customers equal access to the service," the statement read.

Managing Editor Charles McCollum said he was surprised the ad didn't generate more controversy.

"You would think in small-town Utah that it would be magnified quite a bit, as conservative as we are," he said.

Neither Spencer nor Taylor could be reached Monday for comment. But, in one of the online responses to Rougeau's letter, Spencer said the couple was forced to use the paper's wedding form because that's the only one available.

"The announcement we sent to our friends and family did not include the words 'marriage' or 'commitment ceremony.' We were very specific and said please join us in a 'celebration of our love.' "

In Salt Lake City, a marriage announcement was published last month in The Salt Lake Tribune for Lisa Altman and Martha Amundsen - capital residents who legally married in California in June.

Altman said she expected some negative reaction but was "pleasantly surprised" by all the positive comments and cards she and Amundsen received from friends, clients and co-workers.

She said it's unfortunate some folks had a problem with the Spencer-Taylor ad.

"It's a shame these people are uneducated and narrow-minded," Altman said.