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Sunday, 18 August, 2002, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
NY Times to announce gay unions
Gay couple
The daily will choose couples on merit
One of the most influential American newspapers, the New York Times, says it plans to publish announcements of same-sex commitment ceremonies and partnership agreements alongside its wedding announcements.

The paper said it would publish the announcements of gay and lesbian unions in its Sunday Styles section, because it felt they were of increasing importance to many readers.


We recognise that the society remains divided about the legal and religious definition of marriage, and our news columns will remain impartial in that debate

Howell Raines
New York Times executive editor
The New York Times statement added, however, that it recognised the divide in society over the legal and religious definition of marriage, and its news columns would remain impartial on that matter.

The announcement comes just two days after New York City moved a step closer to equal rights between traditional marriages and same-sex unions.

The city council voted on Friday to recognise same-sex partnerships registered outside the city.

Previously, couples registered elsewhere who moved to the city had to re-register and wait a year before receiving spousal rights already accorded to city residents, such as succession rights to apartments.

Only one American state, Vermont, legally recognises civil union between couples of the same sex.

'Discrete phenomenon'

The New York Times executive editor, Howell Raines, said the gay and lesbian couples featured would be selected under the same criteria used to choose the weddings - that is, the newsworthiness and accomplishments of the couples and their families.

Same-sex celebrations would be treated as a "discrete phenomenon meriting coverage in their own right", he said.

Couples would need to qualify in at least one of two ways to be considered.

  • By celebrating their commitment in a public ceremony;

  • By entering into a legally recognised civil union (only available in Vermont) or registering their partnership in localities such as New York City which offered this.

The Vows column, a longer feature on an individual couple, will also occasionally be devoted to same-sex couples.

See also:

02 Aug 01 | Europe
30 Mar 00 | Americas
08 Mar 00 | Americas
12 Feb 00 | Americas
14 Oct 99 | Europe
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