In a unanimous vote this week, the governing board of the Jewish Exponent moved to overturn its longstanding policy that prevented the full inclusion of same-sex couples in the publication.
The Jewish Publishing Group, which decides policy matters for the paper, voted Sept. 23 to allow publication of same-sex wedding and union announcements.
Lee Rosenfield, who has been pressing for the policy change for more than a decade and who recently launched a letter-writing campaign that drew support from nearly 100 local rabbis and dozens of LGBT community members and leaders, said he was elated when he learned of the vote.
“After a 13-year struggle, I am very pleased that the Exponent has finally come to fully embrace the GLBT community,” he said. “This is long overdue, but I want to focus on the positive. It was a gutsy move and they stood up and rose to the occasion.”
Jewish Publishing Group chair Bennett Aaron said the vote reflects the “evolutionary process” the publication has undergone in regard to its LGBT policies.
“For years, the Exponent has published birth announcements and death notices for people who come from the gay and lesbian community, and this was really the final piece of the puzzle,” Aaron said. “We’ve been moving in the right direction, and the entire board recognized that, and I’m very glad that we did.”
Lisa Hostein, executive editor of the Exponent, said she would communicate the policy change to her readers in next week’s issue.
She anticipates some readers may be displeased with the decision, but expressed confidence in the board’s vote.
“As with all issues in the Jewish community, there will be discussion and debate,” she said. “This is a sensitive issue and we want to handle it as sensitively as possible, but I think the board made the right decision. It was time for this to happen.”