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“Dear Abby” Controversy on Gay Marriage June 28, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.
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Today’s “Dear Abby” column touched on the controversial topic of gay marriage, and several newspapers made a decision to edit Abby’s response, which supported gay marriage.

Blogger Mike Fitzpatrick links to the Dear Abby column in several newspapers across the country. Several papers ran it unedited, but others- including the Philadelphia Daily News- edited out Abby’s support for gay marriage. Fitzpatrick objects to the edits:

Amazingly, these papers have had no problems reprinting verbatim the nasty political admonishments uttered by right wingers like Ann Coulter, Senator Rick Santorum, or the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Agenda-driven punditry, of course, not only enflames passions – it sells a lot of extra copies too.

It’s so much better to edit sensible advice from a venerable observer of human nature.

While these papers run comments by Coulter, Santorum and others, that does not show they support those opinions. The Philadelphia Daily News has run several columns that support gay marriage, and other articles make their disdain for Rick Santorum clear.

Even though I disagree with Fitzpatrick’s comments, I’ll admit that I’m curious about this “Dear Abby” issue. I’d like to know whether the Philadelphia Daily News cut the “Dear Abby” column due to space concerns (e.g. it hit a word limit) or due to political reasons.

In case you were wondering, here is the Dear Abby column from today (the part in bold italics was removed from the Philadelphia Daily News but included in other papers):

Dear Abby: I am being married this summer to my fiancee of five years, Beth. I had always assumed that my brother, Mike, who is also my best friend, would be my best man. Mike is gay.

When I asked him, I was stunned at his response. Mike said he loves me and Beth, but refuses to be part of a ceremony celebrating something for which he is discriminated against emotionally, financially and socially. He refuses even to attend.

Now that I have been forced to confront this issue, I realize my brother is right. Beth thinks he should “get over it,” and he needs to accept that it’s just “the way things are in the world.”

As hurt as I am, I can’t hold against my brother his refusal to participate in what he refers to as a “reminder that he is considered a second-class citizen without the same civil rights” as I have.

How can I handle this without turning it into something that could overshadow what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life?
Disappointed in Westlake, Ohio

Dear Disappointed: By respecting your brother’s decision, and reminding your bride-to-be that accepting the status quo is not always the best thing to do. Women were once considered chattel, and slavery was regarded as sanctioned in the Bible. However, Western society grew to recognize that neither was just.

Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have recognized gay marriage, and one day, perhaps, our country will, too.

My two cents: Dear Abby’s political bias influenced her to give bad advice. Assuming that the groom and bride are kind/loving to the gay brother, shouldn’t he show his support for them too? After all, the groom and bride don’t make the law in this country. Regardless of one’s opinion on gay marriage, can’t we all agree that it is a bit mean to skip your own brother’s wedding in order to make a political statement? Abby could have used this column to argue that love and family ties should take precedence over political beliefs. If the situation were reversed and a straight brother didn’t want to attend a gay civil ceremony because he didn’t agree with the gay lifestyle, I’m sure Abby would have told him that love for a sibling is more important.

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