Focus on local debate: LGBT equal rights

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14 June 2012

ST. JOHN VALLEY –On Wednesday, the Fiddlehead Focus distributed a paid advertisement for the Maine Marriage Political Action Committee which criticized the Democratic Party for their support of gay marriage, and has prompted several responses from readers who wanted to address the statements and intent of the ad.  

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In the spirit of the idea that all politics is local, Fiddlehead Focus invites people to use the comment forum of this article to discuss and debate this issue.

We encourage persons who post comments to refrain from using offensive language.  We also encourage participants to provide links to sources that support any claims associated with this issue.  For example, if someone writes that lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons make up a particular percentage of the population, we would ask the author of the claim to provide a link to a study or an article to substantiate it. 

The insert that readers saw was a paid advertisement and does not reflect the opinions, acceptance, endorsement or beliefs of this news organization.

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As a news resource, Fiddlehead Focus is ethically unable to disallow advertising, because the members of the Fiddlehead Focus organization might disagree with the people purchasing the advertising, especially political advertising, for several reasons. First, an ad such as this can spark a debate which can then allow persons who support LGBT rights or who would deny LGBT rights to express their beliefs and provide reasoned response to the nature of this civil rights issue. Second, as an organization that makes its bread and butter from the application of the First Amendment, Fiddlehead Focus supports the idea that everyone should have access to the newspaper to express their beliefs in editorials, letters to the editor, online comments and paid advertisements, as long as the content is within the generous guidelines Fiddlehead Focus has established. 

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Comments

Dems Rock!

Thanks Fiddlehead Focus staff for providing a space to respond to this ad.

I want to also thank the Maine Marriage P.A.C. for reminding those of us who believe in civil rights and the rights of same-sex couples that the democratic party stands behind us and our beliefs. You rock Dems! I absolutely support my democratic candidates.

I find it difficult to understand that in our present day of modern technology, huge amounts of information flow, the wealth of knowledge, and so much more that groups of people still live as if we are in the Dark Ages.

We have come so far, yet I feel like people keep forcing our country to keep taking steps back. Do the people out there who don't believe in same-sex marriage think that if it is allowed, somehow their own lives will be tainted? That just isn't so. Marriage is a civil issue and is a right for all. The only taint out there is the one brought on by fear and anger of the narrow minded few who want to keep loving couples from having a civil and binding marriage.

The people who fight against same-sex marriage are basing their fight on fear. They can couch their fight within moral or religious arguments, but it simply comes down to fear. So I ask, what do you fear?

To be honest, when I picked

To be honest, when I picked up my copy of the Fiddlehead Focus this week, I was shocked and appalled by the insert and the message it sends. I am an avid supporter of the gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender community, and to find such an ad in a local, family-friendly newspaper was very unnerving. Children read your papers. What do you think this kind of material will teach them? That it's okay to look down upon gays or transgenders and to be intolerant? It doesn't matter what gender they are, or their sexual preference--they are human beings, and they deserve to be treated as such. I think it was wrong for the insert to be included, and to use the excuse of the first amendment for it being there. Am I to understand that if the Klu Klux Klan wanted to run an insert in your paper preaching their message against African Americans, you would let them, because that is also an example of free speech, and they paid for it? I would certainly hope not. I truly hope we don't see any more of those inserts in the future. The Fiddlehead Focus should remain geared toward County news and unbiased articles of all natures. I will not support a newspaper that will include such prejudice in it.

Well...

Being a B in the LGBT community, I did a double take. But, money talks. And, as a small paper and the FhF cannot deny anyone who wishes to pay, it's a very double edged sword. If it doesn't reflect what the FhF stands for, then don't print it. But it's a paid advert. See, you can go both ways on this. I'm saddened that the FhF did put this out there, we have bullying in schools, we have LGBT youth killing themselves over lack of acceptance. I'm just beyond words. I'm not sure I can support the FhF anymore, as at one time I was ONE of those youths and thought many times of taking my own life. Perhaps, something to offshoot what was in the handout? The Bangor Daily News is VERY pro-gay..... Anyway, I now have to think long and hard about if I can support a paper who, by putting this between their pages, supports those views.

Unable or unwilling?

Reporting often has an obvious bias and many newspapers and television stations are well-known for favoring certain political parties; it's a safe assumption that you would be unlikely to find left-wing advertising content associated with a publication known to have a right-wing bias or vice-versa. Would the Fiddlehead Focus publish advertising that included lewd content, foul language or other generally offensive material? The publication's only obligation is to examine the proposed ad and decide if it is acceptable to enter a contract to accept money in exchange for publishing it. Apparently this advertisement was acceptable to the editor and/or staff of this publication, so they accepted money to publish it. However they want to excuse that is up to them, but there is no ethical or legal obligation to accept it.

don't censor - talk instead

The ad was a political gambit by a political action committee (p.a.c.) fighting against democrats. I would hope the paper will in the future also print ads that promote the opposite of what this one did. Dems? you want to step up?

I have never liked newspapers, TV, and radio running ads that promoted anti-choice over pro-choice, right wing and teabagger agendas, etc. (and believe me I have seen plenty), but I hate even more censoring such things because when we start getting into censorship we start eliminating thought processes and freedom to speak out both for and against. I am sure the other side hates it when ads are run that promote pro-choice, same-sex marriage, and anything else that we think is simply common sense but they find it morally offensive. And I wouldn't be surprised if they also would respond by writing similar posts to what is here but with their own language of course. If we censor them, we censor ourselves. Besides, do we really want this type of ad to go out secretly so that we don't know what our opponents think?

I didn't like this ad either, but I don't lay the blame on the news organization that placed the ad, I place the blame on the narrow minded people behind the ad. I like the fact I can now write my support for same-sex marriage in an open forum. I know I could have done that anytime, but this was a great catalyst to begin discussing this very hot issue in our county. It is county news. It is a county issue. There was no biased reporting here, it was an ad. Too many times our community wants to hide and pretend these issues don't effect us or don't exist, but they do. Now we can discuss it openly much better than before. Oh, and I bet that the Fiddlehead Focus staff, just like many other news organizations, does have a line which they draw and won't cross, and I bet the KKK is far on the other side of it.

So rather than attack the messenger, why not go after the ignorant fools who placed the ad. I would much rather follow that discussion.

bravo

can't believe i didn't see this before. i did not see the paper, so i missed out. i'm assuming it's the second image that you posted in this article. i'm surprised that there aren't more comments here because we normally see an uproar when someone talks about this.

however, i have to say "bravo" to whoever put that ad in the paper, not because i agree with their standpoint, but because it's so ridiculous that it makes me want to stand behind the maine dems even more. can't say i have a declared "party" but i will not stand with a party who would take such low blows.

that being said, i don't think it is a hate crime... however, someone putting an ad in the paper about hating people of other ethnicities, like the kkk, would be. had the ad suggested any form of threat i'm sure the paper would not have run it. i understand this paper is trying to stay unbiased, which i applaud. it's hard to find news that isn't siding one way or another and is just trying to just state the news, plain and simple.