Kissing on the Front Page

This is hardly the first time the Providence Journal has written about GLBTQ issues. But there is something striking about a picture of a young man kissing another young man on the cheek on the front of today's paper.

That such an image is striking is, well, a little striking itself. A commentary on what we expect - and don't - in Rhode Island, circa 2010.

But if you'll allow me a little hyperbole, I think we're in a moment, here. Rhode Island has been gradually moving away from an older politics for some time now, of course. But last month's elections feel like something of a transition: the state elects its first openly gay Congressman; the governor-elect, however narrow his victory, is a strong voice for same-sex marriage; the Assembly's openly gay Speaker of the House solidifies his power.

There is, of course, still a strong traditionalist streak in this state; a tug-of-war. And the Journal's drift seems to reflect that tug-of-war - an editorial page moving left, but not too sharply; a news-gathering operation taking some more chances, but not too many; a newspaper still staid, but on the brink of change.

It ought to be an interesting couple of years.

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