Kevin Sack Writes About 'Heterosexist Language and Customs' in a News Story on Gay Weddings

On Friday, reporter Kevin Sack profiled Kirsten and Maria Palladino, a gay couple who live near Atlanta and run an "online same-sex wedding magazine, Equally Wed." A photo of the smiling couple covers most of the front page of the National section and the liberally loaded words "homophobic" and "heterosexist" appear without quotation marks in Sack's advertorial/advocacy piece for gay marriage, "When the Bride Takes a Bride - Providing the How-To For Same-Sex Weddings."

When the Palladinos were planning their wedding, they found that traditional bridal magazines were all but useless in addressing their particular questions.

Questions like: Where does a woman find a man's suit that does not make her look like a woman in a man's suit? Should Kirsten and Maria both walk down the aisle, or was it O.K. for Maria, who sees herself as more masculine, to wait for her bride? At which of the Caribbean resorts in the honeymoon pictorials would two women feel most comfortable holding hands?

"On every level there was something lacking," said Kirsten Palladino, who took Maria's surname after their wedding in June 2009. "We didn't see any couples like us. The language was all he and she, bride and groom, please your man."

After their honeymoon in St. Martin, they decided to do something about it. This month, they published the second issue of their online same-sex wedding magazine, Equally Wed.


Gay weddings have been depicted on network television since the mid-1990s, and about 70 percent of daily newspapers now carry same-sex wedding announcements, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. But some mainstream publications and broadcasters are only now taking their first halting steps toward inclusion.

The Times didn't wait; it's been including gap nuptials in its wedding section for years. And is this a double-entendre?

Both magazines played it straight, focusing on menus and decorations, with no mention beyond the obvious of the couples' orientations. "This is a part of the mix going forward," said Millie Martini Bratten, the editor-in-chief of Brides. "The world is changing."

But because it must appeal to a broad base, Brides does not plan to spotlight same-sex weddings in any deliberate way or to document their sociological evolution, Ms. Bratten said. That leaves an untapped market for Equally Wed and a handful of other Web sites devoted to same-sex weddings, with titles like Queerly Wed, So You're EnGAYged, and


Like traditional magazines, Equally Wed pulses with the love stories of real couples and lush photography of their ceremonies. Kirsten Palladino, who always dreamed of a white-dress wedding, writes a blog called "In Bloom," which dispenses advice on invitation fonts and summer cocktails.

But she also answers reader questions about whether a man should propose to another man with a ring (why not?) and whether a couple should invite homophobic relatives to their wedding (better to send them an announcement after the fact). Maria Palladino, who said she has not worn a dress since high school, writes a blog from the butch point of view called "Broom Closet," a term she coined for those who do not quite fit as either bride or groom.

Is Sack implying here that referring to Jesus Christ in an e-mail signature is "heterosexist language"?

The magazine includes a consumer guide to vendors who are practiced in avoiding heterosexist language and customs. When planning their own wedding, the Palladinos quickly learned to detect discomfort among the photographers they interviewed.

"They were so delicate in their handling of it," Kirsten Palladino said. "They'd say, 'You know, I've never shot a gay wedding, but I'd be happy to.' And then sign off their e-mail: 'Much love in Jesus Christ.' "

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