Times-Dispatch publishes same sex engagement announcement

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – For the first time ever, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published an engagement announcement for a same sex couple. It appeared in Sunday's Celebrations section.

Right next to the pictures of happy heterosexual couples is a photo of two women embracing with enthusiastic smiles. The Times-Dispatch told NBC12 when it comes down to its protocol, nothing's really changed.

Friendship growing into something more is not an uncommon occurrence. But the characters in this love story are both women. It's the story of Chet and Barbara Walrod's daughter.

"I had been praying that the Lord would send someone for Katie and he sent Jess," said Chet.

After two years as a couple, they decided to get married. Barbara went right to work drafting an announcement, just as she had done for her son.

"I had always said when my children got engaged and got married I was putting it in the paper," she explained.

The paper told us staff applied the same scrutiny to this ad as it would for any other. The key factor in printing it is that the wedding will take place in Washington DC, where same sex unions are legal.

This is the first time in its 160 year history the Times-Dispatch has printed a same sex announcement.  Founder of Gay RVA Kevin Clay, said it speaks volumes.

"Because it's showing 'hey, this is our life. We are just like everybody else,'" he said.

From their Northern Virginia home, the couple explained they know not everyone will have a positive reaction.

"We weren't intending to make a huge statement, political statement at all," said fiancé Jess Porras. "We were just celebrating our happiness like any other couple would."

The Times-Dispatch wasn't sure how many other same sex announcements have been submitted for approval. A vice president said they don't run ads about, "illegal activities", so a gay marriage here in Virginia wouldn't make the cut because the commonwealth doesn't recognize the unions.

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