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June 27, 2015

Pennsylvania newspaper limits op-eds opposing gay marriage, apologizes

PennLive explains controversial editorial published Friday

The U.S. Supreme Court made history Friday when it ruled that same-sex marriages were a constitutional right.

In response to the ruling, the editorial board at PennLive, the online publication for Harrisburg's largest daily newspaper The Patriot News, published an opinion piece applauding the decision.

The editorial states that the decision is a huge step forward for the country, and in response, the paper will now change the types of op-ed pieces it publishes to reflect the changing times:

As a result of Friday's ruling, PennLive/The Patriot News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. 
These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.
We will, however, for a limited time, accept letters and op-Eds on the high court's decision and its legal merits.

Yet less than 24 hours after the article was published, PennLive's editor apologized for it following a flood of emails and phone calls criticizing him for the publication's decision.

John Micek, opinions editor at PennLive, explained the reasoning for the piece and policy in another editorial Saturday morning, citing explicit comments on their main story covering the Supreme Court decision: the comments on our main story about the ruling -- many of them openly hostile -- began to pile up, I decided I wanted to send the strongest possible message that the Opinion pages of PennLive and The Patriot News would be space for civil discussion of one of the most important civil rights rulings of our lifetime.

Micek went on to explain that he believes there are reasonable and intelligent people who oppose Friday's decision, and that the publication was not " an opponent of the First Amendment." He concluded by saying he realized the publication should act as a voice for the readers he serves, and apologized to anyone offended by Friday's piece.