Monday, May 02, 2005

Make Merry in Massachusetts

What Jeff West thought would be a big yuck among buddies left him laughing alone. He put a civil-union announcement in a suburban Massachusetts MetroWest newspaper Sunday edition for him and long-term pal (maybe ex-pal) Matt Hunt. See the erratum coverage here.

The newspaper is being a sport about it, even if the real couple is not. It included a capture of the original item. The image is of two t-shirted guys sharing Santa’s lap.

One problem is that he didn’t ask Matt. Another seems to be that they aren’t getting married. They also aren’t gay and Matt will marry his rather female fiancĂ©e, Kelley Parker, this summer. Alert MetroWest readers may have noticed that the real announcement appeared in November. Parker and Hunt are both teachers and she particularly thinks the hoax could damage her reputation.

Of course, this only worked because there are Massachusetts and Vermont handy to lend credence to the fake announcement. By the bye, they would have had to go to Vermont for a civil union; it's marriages only in their state.

In addition, gay-rights groups may not be too happy. For example, The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts’ advocacy director, Joshua Friedes, said, "I think many people don't understand how seriously gay and lesbian people take the institution of marriage...I've never heard of a couple sending in a fake wedding announcement to imitate a straight couple, I think this incident is a subtle form of gay-bashing."

“It was supposed to be a small goof,” said West.

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