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Oregon newspaper refuses to print same-sex birth announcements

The Register-Guard is refusing to print the names of same-sex parents on birth annoucements, yet they will print the name of the mother and (no joke) the sperm donor. This is a must read.

From the Daily Emerald:
The Register-Guard's refusal to run both names of Hailey Flynn's parents in a birth announcement overshadowed one of the happiest moments of Rebecca and Sharon Flynn’s lives, they said.

"Rebecca was with me the entire way and I've never thought of her as not being an equal parent," Sharon said. "To experience this was painful and our first slap of discrimination that we may face being same-sex parents."

The Register-Guard's policy is not to include the name of unmarried partners unless they are biological parents, according to a Feb. 22 Register-Guard article.

Sharon Flynn, 36, gave birth to a baby girl 10 months ago at Sacred Heart Medical Center. A few days after Hailey was born, a hospital official visited Sharon's room to discuss placing a birth announcement in The Register-Guard.

The official returned an hour later to tell Sharon the paper had a policy against publishing birth announcements from same-sex couples, she said.

Sharon was so upset she called the paper and eventually reached David Baker, the managing editor, she said.

The paper was willing to publish an announcement listing Sharon and the name of the sperm donor as Hailey’s parents, but the Flynns declined.

Sharon and Rebecca, 36, had asked Rebecca’s cousin to donate his sperm so Hailey would have some of Rebecca’s features and family history. He agreed to sign away all parental rights, and Rebecca adopted Hailey.

Rebecca called Baker several times in the months following Hailey’s birth about the policy and eventually contacted the City of Eugene’s Human Rights Commission, which also wrote The Register-Guard in October requesting a meeting with the paper’s editorial board, the Flynns and officials from the Human Rights Commission, according to a Feb. 3 letter from the Human Rights Commission.

"(Baker) explained to (Rebecca) that he was researching the birth announcement policies of other independent, family-owned newspapers in order to determine whether or not it was feasible to change the Register-Guard's policy," according to the letter.

"In that conversation, Mr. Baker also stated that he would move quickly to resolve the matter. According to Ms. Flynn, she left messages on Mr. Baker's voice mail on at least three different occasions over the past three months, requesting an update on the status of the Register-Guard's birth announcement policy," according to the letter. "He has not returned those calls."

The Register-Guard's policy appeared in an article by Jeff Wright covering a Human Rights Commission meeting.

"In other business, commission members said Tuesday they remain hopeful of persuading The Register-Guard to revise its policy on the publication of birth notices," according to the article.

"Earlier Tuesday, Managing Editor Dave Baker said the newspaper plans to stick with its current policy."

A letter to the editor from the Flynns published March 9 in The Register-Guard stated that the couple worries how the paper will report future events that affect the family.

"If, God forbid, Hailey dies unexpectedly, would her obituary state that she is survived by Sharon Flynn, her biological mother, and Rebecca Flynn, some random lady who stayed home to raise her?" the letter stated. "Or, as with the newspaper's birth announcement policy, would Rebecca not be mentioned at all?"

Rebecca said the policy made the couple feel like the family is invisible.

"We don’t want other parents to get that same slap in the face during the most joyous time of their lives," she said.

Baker didn’t return phone calls from the Emerald regarding the policy.

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 24, 2006 3:47 PM

Upon my child's birth and adoption I also contacted the Register-Guard hoping to post a birth/adoption announcement. I was told there was 'no format for doing that kind of announcement.' They told me I could pay for my own ad in a different section of the newspaper. They also said an editor would call me to discuss the matter. I never received a call.

I am a single white mother of an African-American child. I know the newspaper was unaware of this fact, but to me this, too, was very dismissive and equivalent to sending us all to the back of the bus. The Register-Guard needs to get in step with the diverse needs of our community--its paying readers!-- and make an all-inclusive birth and adoption announcement section. --Rachael    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 15, 2006 11:25 PM

This type of thing alwyas upsets me. I am about to start a life like this. I'm going to have a wedding and live with my partner. We're both female and I plan on getting artificially inseminated and I will have our child. The idea of one of her family memebers donating the sperm is a good one, and I'll mention it to her.

The fact that this state, this country, has gone to such extremes in discriminating against people like us, disgusts me. This article, any many others like it, really shows where this country stands. I wish that more people would realize that we should have the same rights as hetero couples.

Against same-sex marrage?
Don't do it.
Against same-sex parenting?
Don't do it.

It's not hurting you, who's to say that we can't? Discrmintation and bigotry is getting more and more common.

Maybe all the gays shouldmove to an un-inhabited country and we can start over there. escape this government just like our fore-fathers did with Europe.    

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