Fury as Jewish paper pulls same-sex marriage announcements

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010
Avichai Smolen and Justin Rosen

Avichai Smolen and Justin Rosen

The publisher of a Jewish newspaper has said a controversial decision to stop printing same-sex marriage announcements may have been made “too quickly”.

The New Jersey Jewish Standard had published a piece on its “Lifecycles page” marking the engagement of Avichai David Smolen, 23, and Justin Taylor Rosen, 24, in the September 24 edition of the New Jersey weekly.

But following complaints from traditional and Orthodox rabbis, editor Rebecca Boroson released a statement saying that because of the “divisive” nature of the issue such announcements would no longer be printed.

Ms Boroson said the initial inclusion had set off a firestorm of reactions.

“Given the tenor of the times, we did not expect the volume of comments we have received.

“A group of rabbis has…conveyed the deep sensitivities within the community to this issue.

“Subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation.”

Ms Boroson apologised for any pain caused and said: “The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart.

“We have decided, therefore, not to run such announcements in the future.”

The statement prompted an outrage response around the internet, with members of the Reform Jewish community and gay and lesbian groups criticising the decision.

One reader posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page: “Do not publish any announcements if you fear offending some. You owe the gay community a big apology.”

The newspaper’s publisher, James Janoff, said he had not anticipated the move would generate such a heated response.

Mr Janoff said: “We believe now that we may have acted too quickly, responding only to one segment of the community.

“We are now having meetings with local rabbis and community leaders. The issue clearly demands debate and serious consideration, which we will do our best to encourage.”

Last updated: 2:38pm, November 2 2010