Change of heart? Gay wedding ads allowed

Elizabeth Clopton and Mary Bouldin's excitement about their upcoming wedding was dampened when the Daily Progress refused to print an announcement of their engagement because theirs is not a legally recognized union.

Progress publisher Lawrence McConnell, who was not available for comment for last week's story, "No Progress: Gay wedding picks nixed," called June 7 to say the paper will, in fact, accept display ads for unions that are other than legal marriages– they just won't appear with the brides in Sunday's Lifestyles section.

"The Daily Progress publishes 'Family Album' to announce marriages that are legally recognized," says McConnell. "If couples or groups want to advertise unions other than legal marriages, they can buy advertising space in other sections of the paper." Those ads, like all others, are subject to review, adds the publisher.

And he says Clopton was told she could buy a display ad when an advertising manager called her back after her initial inquiry.

Clopton disputes that. "I was flat out told 'no'," she says, when she called the Progress about publishing a notice of her engagement. "I asked, what if we bought a display ad? He said, 'We won't print it under any circumstances until such marriages are legal in Virginia.'"

Bouldin and Clopton are unsure if they'll take advantage of the Progress' current willingness to take their ad dollars.

"I'm really glad to hear they've changed their mind, but I would think we're not interested," says Bouldin.

"Our wedding is not until next April, so maybe we will," says Clopton, who adds, "It sounds to me like they're backpedaling."

Daily Progress  says it will sell Mary Bouldin and Elizabeth Clopton an ad to announce their engagement, but it won't appear with the happy heterosexual couples.