And so, in September 2002, the announcements came, once per week -- each gay couple more fabulous, more accomplished than the next -- the first couple, Daniel Gross and Steven Goldstein, had lobbied the Times for inclusion -- one, a Fulbright scholoar now Vice President at GE Capital, the other a co-campaign manager in U.S. Senator Jon Corzine's 2000 election race and former attorney for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The next couple, both women, was comprised of the physician in charge of the emergency room at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and the emergency room’s attending psychiatrist.
The power couples kept coming. Clearly, the Times wanted you to be hit over the head with the notion that Gay People Can Be Just As Accomplished As Everyone Else, And Sometimes, More So. Nothing wrong with that message, even if it meant excluding (perhaps) some more terrestrial gay couples just to make a point.
But now it's late March, and today, there were no same-sex commitment ceremony announcements in the Times. There were none last week either, or the week before that -- not one in March at all, across five different Sundays.
February, the month of Valentine's Day? None.
Indeed, if my extensive search is right (and Jen and I have been tracking this informally for weeks anyway), the Times hasn't run a same-sex announcement since January 19, 2003. In the ten following weeks, there have been 165 male-female couples, zero same-sex. And I want to know why.
In bluntest terms, this is either an input or output problem -- either gay announcements aren't being submitted anymore, or they are, and they're not being printed. As to why, I'm in pure hypothesis territory. Here's a few:
1. The barrier has been broken, and gay couples no longer feel the need to be validated by inclusion in The Times, and are no longer submitting announcements. (Intriguing.)
2. Gay couples, for whatever reason, just don't get married during the winter doldrums. Come springtime, they'll return. (Doubtful.)
3. The Times has higher standards for gay couples than straight couples, and those couples submitting announcements over the past few months just aren't meeting those initially-set higher standards. (Possible.)
4. The Times changed its mind. (Doubtful, but with each passing week, more likely.)
Are Jen and I the only people who've noticed what's been going on? Anyone else with a theory? Please email me if you've got any insight, hypotheses, or valid explanations as to this odd, odd absence. (If you're from the Times, even better. All responses kept as anonymously as you'd like them to be kept.)