by Max Brantley
The line is open. Closing notes:
* OBIT POLICIES: An Arkansas gay rights group has stirred up quite a bit of national attention to the policy of the Batesville Guard to list only immediate family in free obituaries, not including unmarried domestic partners. The issue came to light when a same-sex partner was omitted from a free obituary. In keeping with most papers' paid obituary policies, the Guard will include domestic partners and other information in paid obituaries. We reported this Tuesday afternoon. Now, the Human Rights Campaign has organized a letter-writing campaign to the newspaper. Note that the limitation in free notices applies regardless of sexual orientation. Heterosexual partners are also excluded. HRC makes the point that same-sex couples cannot marry in Arkansas. The Guard will make some money off the controversy. HRC is running this ad in the newspaper tomorrow, a full page. UPDATE: Thanks to Norma for noting this development — Newspaper will run full obit in its paid section (as it always would have), GLAAD will pay the charge, the money will be given to charity. The paper has also offered an apology.
FURTHER: I'm listening to President Obama at a fund-raiser in New York for LGBT causes call for equal treatment of all people; to say the law should not treat committed partners like stranger; that DOMA should be repealed. New York's effort to pass a same-sex marriage law? He said New York is doing exactly what democracy is supposed to do. There's a debate and a deliberation about what it means to treat people equally. "That's how we'll achieve change that is lasting — change that a few years ago would have seemed impossible." People said hate crime laws and repeal of DADT couldn't be passed, but they were. He stopped short of declaration of support for the New York law, though all the cues about equal treatment were there and his hope that the day would come when all were free to "live and love" as they choose.
* TERROR PLOT CHARGED: Two men have been arrested in Seattle for allegedly planning a machine gun and grenade attack on a military processing station in protest of U.S. activities in the Middle East. Shades of the Little Rock military station shooting.
* ONE MORE BOOK ON 1957: I got the advance proofs today of David Margolick's book, "Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock." We've written before about his long project to retell the story of the lives of Elizabeth Eckford of the Little Rock Nine and Hazel Bryan Massery, her tormentor in Will Counts' iconic photograph of Eckford's lonely walk to enter Central High School in 1957. It had its beginnings in an article for Vanity Fair. I know well — and Margolick notes in his book — the wish by many around here never to hear another word on the topic. From a quick glance, I'd say this is a book worth rethinking that notion. It's conversational, colorful, personal, richly detailed and has anything but a Disneyesque storybook ending thanks to the rupture of the famous reconciliation between Eckford and Massery. Personal relationships and racial themes rarely reduce simply. Margolick captures nuances about our city, its heroes and villains, our memories and, most of all, Elizabeth and Hazel. Look for it in October.