When The Times (Finally) Recognized Gay Unions

In 2002, Steven Goldstein and Daniel Andrew Gross’  partnership was the first same-sex union to be announced in the New York Times wedding pages.

In 2001, Stefan Erik Oppers and Gary Penn popped the question.
The New York Times said no.
Daniel Andrew Gross and Steven Goldstein popped the question.
The Times demurred but this time did not shut the door entirely. Then, after a few more days’ thought, it said yes.

The question, of course, was, “Will you print an announcement of our civil union in your society pages?”

Mr. Goldstein was checking his desktop computer in Brooklyn on a Sunday morning, shortly before their commitment ceremony. Awaiting him was a message from The Times. “I started screaming: ‘Daniel! Daniel! The New York Times has changed its policy!’” he said. “‘And we’re going to be the first couple!’”

What seemed like a sudden turnaround in Times policy had actually been the byproduct of decades of debate in and outside the gay community.

Though The Times had covered the issue of whether to legalize same-sex marriage for years, it did not seem especially urgent to lesbian and gay advocates in the 1980s. They were more focused on discrimination, antigay violence and the AIDS epidemic.

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