Wednesday, May 6, 2009

17 Weddings and a Burial

State Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) and her partner caught a bus from St. Louis last week along with 16 other same-sex couples and headed to Iowa to get married. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch, excerpt:
The marriage applications used to have a line for the bride's name, another for the groom's. Now, the form refers to Party A and Party B.

The couples were greeted at the county building by Iowa City Mayor Regina Bailey.

"Happy wedding day. I hope you enjoy your time here," Bailey said.

Among the newlyweds was Jolie Justus, Missouri's only openly gay state senator. She and her partner, Shonda Garrison, 38, drove from Kansas City to St. Louis for the Iowa bus trip.

On the ride, Justus, 38, said she noticed no difference when the bus crossed from Missouri to Iowa. Same rolling pastures and overcast skies. But in Iowa, she said, being able to wed the woman she loves creates a vast difference between the two Midwestern states. Justus hopes now that gay marriage has landed in America's heartland, it will become more widely accepted.

It was big news in St. Louis and Iowa and lots of other places and got airtime in Kansas City. Someone told me about it a couple of days ago and I was surprised - Not at the wedding, but because I hadn't seen it in the Senator's hometown paper, the Kansas City Star. No one I asked about it had either. They saw it on TV.

So I asked the Star's reader rep if there was an article and I just missed it. Sure enough, page A8 on May 4. Do you see it?


That's what you call burying a story. And it's very cleverly done. If you were just flipping through the paper, you'd probably think the little story on the top right had something to do with Bob Dole, but look closer:


So here's my question. Why the burial? And I'm open to speculation.

Isn't this marriage a momentous event in the history of the movement for marriage equality? The mayor in Iowa thought so. The St. Louis newspaper thought so.

Isn't there some ironic angle that could be prominently called out - 'State Senator only equal when she leaves home state'?

Isn't this a great leap forward for a state like Missouri to have a same-sex married State Senator, when just back in 2004 the citizens of the state voted 71% - 29% to ban same-sex marriage?

Wouldn't you want the white-picket fence neighborhoods in western Kansas City that Senator Justus represents to know all about it?

I think I just answered my own question.