GLAAD scores coup as NY Times agrees to list same-sex unions

LOS ANGELES: After 18 months of lobbying, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) last week won a major victory when The New York Times said that it will begin running same-sex union announcements in its Weddings/Celebrations section.

LOS ANGELES: After 18 months of lobbying, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) last week won a major victory when The New York Times said that it will begin running same-sex union announcements in its Weddings/Celebrations section.

The nonprofit has been pushing for inclusion of gay couples in the section through a series of letters, calls, and meetings.

"Some of it was actually in casual conversation at cocktail parties, where someone from GLAAD was at a place with someone from The New York Times, said John Sonego, GLAAD communications director. "Once they indicated they would have a discussion about it, we just kept pushing." GLAAD staff was granted time to formally present their arguments last month during a PowerPoint presentation with the Times' managing editor, Gerald Boyd, and editors from the Style section. Days later, the paper revealed its new policy.

GLAAD's success led it to launch a year-long campaign dubbed the "Announcing Equality project, aimed at convincing other papers across the country to follow the Times' lead. Currently about 70 of the US' 1,500 papers run such items.

GLAAD's five-person regional media team is in the process of setting up face-to-face appointments with editors in the top 100 markets.

Sonego added that the Times' decision has sparked a media flurry. GLAAD has been fielding calls from editors asking for help at their papers, as well as gay couples seeking to become test cases in various markets.

Conservative groups have also flooded editorial pages with letters denouncing the policy.

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