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News knows no politics ... or religion

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

News is a chronicle of conflict and change.

So says veteran NBC newsman John Chancellor in a 30-year-old TV documentary on journalism.

Of course, change seldom shows up anywhere without conflict by its side.

“Progress is a nice word,” Robert Kennedy said. “But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.”

As readers of this column – and fans of Bob Dylan – know, the times they are constantly a-changin’.

Like it, or not.

READERS OFFERED a fair amount of feedback on a front page story from Monday, June 9.

The headline said: ‘It’s about time’ – Sterling women first same-sex couple to marry in county

Nearly all of the comments posted online and on Facebook offered congratulations to the newly married couple.

That might not have been the case 25 years ago. But the times, you know ...

Among the milder criticisms posted was, “So why is this news?”

You have to ask?

Same-sex marriage is a recent change in Illinois law.

That change was made despite some strong opposition – inside and out of the Legislature.

The first same-sex marriage in the Sauk Valley is something new – a change from the norm.

And change has its enemies.

NOT ALL OF THE criticism was mild.

“Do you have no better front page news than 2 lesbian women getting married?” one female reader said in an email.

“This is offensive to me and I’m supposing many others who know this is an abomination in the eyes of God. ...

“True, it’s news, and belongs not on the front page but hidden somewhere else deep in the paper. Why give notary to an obnoxious sin?

“Hopefully you will respect all of your viewing audience and consider the consequences of your choices.”

That story was on the front page precisely because we do respect all of our readers – a population with a wide range of opinions about good and evil, right and wrong, sin and salvation.

Part of our customer service promise is this: Be understanding – Respect and reflect our customers’ diverse interests and divergent opinions

If it puts things into context, the reader said she also found it objectionable when we put stories about tattoo parlors on Page 1.

Diff’rent strokes ...

ON THAT VERY SAME Monday morning, our sister publication in Crystal Lake, the Northwest Herald, had this headline on the front page:

4 lesbian couples marry in McHenry – Woodstock woman who wed partner of 26 years: ‘We are making history’

It was news in lots of places throughout Illinois that week.

TV newscasts as well as newspapers chronicled the change – and its conflict.

One reader of the Northwest Herald wrote a letter objecting to the newspaper’s Page 1 story.

“It is not up to us to condemn [the couples] for that is up to our Lord God when the rapture begins,” that writer suggested, “but it is not right to shove it in our noses as the Northwest Herald likes to do.”

As one of our readers suggested in a letter to the editor that we published Wednesday, a simple turning of the newspaper page will get the offending story out of your face.

Might lower your blood pressure, too.

THIS WEEK THE Associated Press reported the numbers associated with gay marriage in America.

In the 2012 election, opponents of same-sex marriage lost in all four state referendums that sought to outlaw the practice.

Just a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriage.

During the past 7 months, more than a dozen federal and state judges have struck down part or all of state-level bans on gay marriage. No cases were decided the other way.

... For he who gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside

And it is ragin’.

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a changin’.

That’s the news.

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