HRC Blog

Mississippi Same-Sex Wedding Story Causes Stir, Newspaper Owner Responds

Post submitted by Eric Cameron, HRC Digital Media Specialist

A small-town Mississippi newspaper has been blasted with angry messages since running a front-page story on what the newspaper believed to be the first same-sex wedding in the county.

The February 7th edition of The Laurel Leader-Call featured Jessica Powell and Crystal Craven, both of Laurel, who were celebrating their loving commitment to each other in the face of Craven’s diagnosis with Stage 4 brain cancer.

After receiving “a deluge of hate calls, letters, e-mails, Facebook posts, soundoffs and random cross stares,” the newspaper’s owner Jim Cegielski decided to respond to the reaction in an admirable op-ed titled, “Doing our job”.

Cegielski defended the choice to feature the story, writing “whether you like it or not, the first known gay wedding to take place in Jones County is still historic.”

He also responded to those who complained that their children had been exposed to the existence of LGBT people:

We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying 'I don't need my children reading this.' Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children.

Read the original article and Cegielski’s full response on page five here.

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