Domestic partners, DADT and media

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted unanimously to offer domestic-partner benefits to all its statewide employees. A court that has a Republican majority. You’d think you’d read about that in most of Pennsylvania’s newspapers and see it on the TV news, right?

No, you only read it here in PGN. Does this constitute bias? That’s a judgment call.

Do they cover gay Pride the way they cover Polish, Irish and other community parades and festivals? We don’t get covered the way the others do. Do they cover LGBT defeats more than victories? Yes, for example, last year’s election when, across the country, we lost numerous marriage-equality issues at the ballot box. That’s news and should be covered. But the flip side is they didn’t report that more LGBT people were elected to office than ever before. For example, did you know that in California, while most publications were reporting on marriage equality, the state legislature elected the first gay speaker of the house in the nation?

The worst record in this area has to go to WPVI, the only TV station in Philadelphia that doesn’t support any LGBT nonprofits or have any on-air LGBT people. It also partners with the Boy Scouts, who won’t allow gays to join: Think of a country club that doesn’t allow blacks.

To make matters worse, this past Sunday on WPVI’s political talk show “Inside Story,” one of the participants made one of the most homophobic statements I’ve heard in this area in some time. In a discussion of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Ed Turzanski, a regular panelist, compared allowing openly gay people to serve to the extremism of terrorist suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan of the Ft. Hood, Texas, massacre, to serve. Offensive! Can you imagine the same being said about the African-American community? Or Jews or Catholics? Let’s try that: “Letting Jews serve openly in the military is like allowing people like Maj. Hasan from the Ft. Hood massacre serve.” That would be called anti-Semitic.

Since we’ve mentioned the worst, let’s take a look at the gold-star winners. In TV, it’s KYW by a long shot. The station has on-air LGBT talent, supports a host of LGBT nonprofits and acted quickly to distance itself from the Alycia Lane incident by issuing a press release pointing out its long support of the LGBT community. Does anyone remember that it was the first station in the nation to cancel an antigay syndicated TV show? In print, the winner is the Philadelphia Daily News. The paper should take great pride in the fact that its columnists not only write about the issues, they are also passionate about them.

Hey, gang, this is Philadelphia — a city that in many ways is the birthplace of the gay-rights movement. If our print and electronic media can’t see this for the civil-rights struggle it is, shame on them.

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].