The front pages of today's Star and the Globe and Mail both boast big colour photos of peace activist James Loney, who was rescued from his kidnapping ordeal in Iraq last week, arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Flanking him are his family members ... and his "partner Dan Hunt."
Yes, Loney is gay. No, the media never revealed that during his four months in captivity. Yes, we knew he was gay. No, we did not think it was a good idea to make that information public. Yes, I knew as well -- and was expressly asked not to write about it and not to write about the fact that we weren't writing about it.
Fears were that, since we had no idea who his captors were, the fact that he is a gay man might have put his life in greater peril than it already was. As the Star's Michelle Shephard and Jessica Leeder report:
"After this I'm going to disappear for a little while into a different kind of abyss, an abyss of love. I need some time to get reacquainted with my partner, Dan, my family, my community and freedom itself," (Loney) said.
It was the first time there was mention of Hunt as media outlets had refrained from referring to him during the activist's captivity, out of concern that the kidnappers would harm Loney because of his sexual orientation.
Here's the Canadian Press take:
The co-director of the Christian Peacemakers Teams says the family of freed Christian peace activist James Loney kept his sexual orientation quiet out of fear for his safety.
Doug Pritchard says the family feared Mr. Loney might come to harm at the hands of his Iraqi captors had they known he was gay.
Mr. Pritchard says it likely wouldn't have helped if Mr. Loney's partner, Dan Hunt, had come forward with public pleas for his release.
Mr. Hunt made his first public appearance since Mr. Loney's ordeal began last November when he greeted his partner Sunday at the airport.
Is that a knock on Islamist whackos? Obviously. But it speaks well of the media that, without any collusion between us, we all kept our yaps firmly shut.
Was that good journalism? I don't know. But it was the right thing to do.
Bet this one gets a lot of you going.