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Obligatory ‘Blogger Comment on San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein’s Decision to Take Newly Married Lesbian Staffers (Who Knew?!) Off the Gay Marriage Beat

Mar
17
2004

It’s stupid. But completely in character.
Rachel Gordon, the reporter in question, and her new wife, photographer Liz Mangelsdorf, should march right down to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and file a complaint for being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual preference and domestic arrangements.
If ever there were an illustration of the need for legal protections for gay people, this is it. More than 60 percent of San Francisco residents favor gay marriage, putting Gordon and her partner in our little mainstream out here.
UPDATE: P.J. Corkery has some choice comments for Bronstein. And a smart observation: If the Chron’s current policy about conflicts had been in place when Randy Shilts — the paper’s best-known and best-respected reporter — was writing about the “gay plague” And the Band Played On would never have seen the light of day.
UPDATE II: Here’s a letter from Harvey Milk Democratic Club President Robert Haaland.
To the editor,
Thanks for your recent editorial on the Chronicle’s decision to remove a lesbian reporter from covering the same sex marriage issue because she got married.
I would guess that most of the LGBT community reacted with disdain for their decision. All of us have faced unconscious and conscious discrimination in our daily lives and on some gut level, we know it when we see it.
I can’t help but wonder who the paper thinks will be objective on this issue? Will they assign a married heterosexual reporter or does that person face objectivity questions as well? Will he or she be “threatened” by the notion of same sex marriage and be unable to report in a nuanced, objective way? Perhaps they will find an unmarried reporter who doesn’t believe in marriage? Arguably, this person isn’t objective under their criteria either.
Will female reporters not be able to report on issues facing women since they will not be objective or can only men be objective about women’s issues?
[San Franscico Sentinel Editor Pat] Murphy is right to call on LGBT groups and LGBT elected officials to denounce the Chronicle’s action. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that the editorial board will not understand. Perhaps in ten or twenty years when there is greater understanding, the paper may look back and regret this, but my guess is that they will continue to justify their discrimination under the guise of the need for objectivity.
Robert Haaland

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