Southern Utah newspaper The Spectrum will only run marriage announcements that are legal, not made up in your pretty little head! Or merely legal in some other state of this here United States! Got a problem with that?
Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones do! They got hitched in June in San Francisco where they live, pre-Prop 8, and received plenty of media coverage. So they wanted to share the good news with their family before everyone gathered back in Utah for a party. But Spectrum publisher Donnie Welch, who originally considered running the announcement without a photo, ultimately chose not to publish it at all. Why the final call? “As our policy is to run marriage announcements recognized by Utah law, I have made the decision not to run the announcement.” Welch added in a follow up: He was “making a business decision.”
Interestingly, the couple was willing to let the issue go; Barrick “didn’t want to be the poster couple for gay marriage.” But GLAAD wasn’t satiated! It got involved, asked Welsh to reconsider (he didn’t), and then blogged about it.
The pair did score a wedding announcement in the Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by MediaNews. The Spectrum, meanwhile, is owned by Gannett, a newspaper group where, according to GLAAD, 70 percent of papers run wedding announcements of any kind. But Utah isn’t like the rest of the U.S., of course.
Is this such a big deal? Sure! Newspapers are supposed to serve some lofty function in a democratic society. But they’re also free to print, or not print, whatever they want. And we’re perfectly fine with that; it’s their right, and it’s one we’d fight to uphold. The solution, then, is to not support business that don’t support us. If The Spectrum‘s version of a free press does not include equality, then they don’t deserve our dollars. Stop buying the paper. Don’t visit its website. And let the newspaper’s advertisers know you won’t support companies that support such ridiculous policies. That’s always more effective than a letter to the editor.
You might’ve heard the newspaper industry is in an irreversible decline. If The Spectrum‘s “business decision” includes the outright exclusion of our community, then let ‘em fall on its sword.