TWO STEPS BACK

About Queerty And GLAAD’s Recent AR Newspaper Victory… Yeah, Not So Much

THE SHOT – Initially The Batesville Guard apologized for not mentioning Terrance James in his lover’s obituary and said they would run a reprint and donate money to a charity of James’ choice. So good job, Queerty—right? Well… that was before the Guard decided to publish the above full-page defending their initial actions. Oh Lordy.

GLAAD suggests you “contact the publisher and let her know that the paper does in fact owe Mr. James an apology, and should re-run the obituary, including recognition of the surviving partner:”

Pat Jones, 870-793-2383, [email protected]

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31 Comments

  • Steve

    That’s just unnecessary. Maybe Mr. James didn’t have a case before, but this kind of print is just begging for a lawsuit.

    Seriously, there is no need for them to print a story openly calling Mr. James a liar, hypocritically saying that he has an agenda (as if this paper doesn’t). I really hope this paper didn’t think this would help them come out of the firestorm, because now they’re going to have a shitstorm on their hands.

    Also, how exactly is listing pets as survivors a slap in the face to people who have buried children?

  • TommyOC

    So the guy tried to list his animals as children.. He’s not the first. That doesn’t change the fact that the paper refused to acknowledge the one relationship on that form that *was* real. I thought that was the while reason for GLAAD’s involvement – and the apology from the home. So why now the need to try to embarrass and humiliate a person in grieving? The paper might be in their right to set the record straight, as it were, but they went about out in a douchey way.

  • fredo777

    I couldn’t help but snicker about the listing of the two cats as daughters + dog as a son.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    So if this paper has an anti-gay policy in place, (not listing life partners,) then chances are this town is pretty anti-gay. That said, is there a chance the funeral directo is also anti-gay, and is siding with the paper against Terence James? The paper has basically said, they beleive the funeral director, and not Terry James. Why is the funeral director’s word more valid than terry James word? This is really coming off as an old fashioned smear-the-queer.

  • Joseph

    Originally this story should have been about the fairness of excluding a homosexual partner from the free obituaries since they can’t legally be married in the state. The paper wasn’t being evil, but it should realize that this isn’t fair given the current law. That the surviving partner now looks like a cheapskate (listing pets as children to try to get them in for free) is a shame, but people need to keep hammering home the fact that the unfairness is that a homosexual partner can only be common law given the state’s current law and that charging them to be mentioned under those circumstances is unfair.

    If the surviving partner is really feigning shock that this happened while having it explained beforehand, then he does have some sort of agenda.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    I read this in the comments setion over at pam’s House Blend about this story:

    To give you an idea of what kind of mean little rag the Guard is, during Clinton’s first term, that paper printed a political cartoon depicting Bill Clinton rhapsodizing about “the gay 90s” while behind him marched a gay pride parade, including leather guys holding a banner with the words “We want your kids.”

    So clearly, this paper would rather defend it’s anti-gay bias, than do the right thing.

  • RM

    If they didn’t owe him an apology before, they certainly do now.
    What disrespectful behavior!

  • Cam

    This is the same typical B.S. that these redneck bigots tried to lie about with Constance McMillian in Mississippi.

    They suddenly claimed that she had been told about the different prom’s etc… even though it turned out to be a lie. Now suddenly with this paper supposedly all these people told this guy something and yet funny enough he didn’t seem to know it.

    Bigots will always lie when their back is up against the wall. Just like they did in Mississippi.

  • Mk_Ultra_Again

    This was in the newspaper? Wow, completely unprofessional. Someone definitely went into rant here.

  • Shannon1981

    Ranting in a supposedly professional paper? Really? Wow, yes, definitely calling. Thanks Queerty.

  • just sayin

    What does this story have to do with Alaska (AK)?

  • Jeffree

    You have to wonder if the Batesfield Guard verifies that married people are actually legally married, that step-children have been legally adopted, & that the place of employment actually was valid.

  • Ambrose

    I appreciate the update. But, forchrissake: AK is the postal code for Alaska. Arkansas is AR. Shouldn’t the editors of a popular blog with a national audience know that, or at least know how to do some basic fact checking?

  • Mike

    @Ambrose: Journalists have to memorize those in their first “writing for the AP” class in college. It is a pretty glaring mistake.

  • TomMc

    See what happens when you try to “do good” Queerty?! Stick to what you do best! ;)

    Seriously though, that that paper penned that bilious rant speaks volumes about *their* moral turpitude. Guess no one down there in Arkansas ever heard the one about not speaking ill of the dead…

  • Mike

    @TomMc: Oh, they have. There are actually a lot of good people in Arkansas. There are also bad ones, as you see by the editorial. ;)

  • ChpInNlr

    @Joseph: caling this grieving man a cheapskate is just as bad a what this paper is doing to him. Do you know his financial situation? He just burried his partner and maybe the free obituary was the only option he had. Contrary to popular belief not all gays are wealthy!

  • Joseph

    @ChpInNlr: I remember when my family lost our father; money was very tight and we simply didn’t run an obituary. It’s not like anyone who cared about him didn’t know or wasn’t notified. But even if it was felt that an obituary was necessary, there’s no excuse to try to cheat the paper’s fee by listing PETS as children. Are the pets going to read the paper and be offended that they’re not mentioned? I don’t think it’s fair a gay couple can’t avail themselves of the full free service because their state denies them married status. But to try to squeeze pets in too by calling them children? That’s an attempt to avoid a fee for something that, unlike the partner, is clearly not a necessity to list.
    But all of that allows the newspaper to shift the focus of the discussion onto an incidental manner, which as I said, they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with.

  • Randi Romo

    Terence James was not trying to cheat by listing the pets. They simply loved the pets and the funeral director urged him to include them, but also told him they might not make the cut, but that if it made him feel better then certainly include them.

    Terence had no idea that the paper would not list him as his partner’s surviving significant other. He was shocked when his mother called and asked if he had seen the obituary.

    When Terence called the paper and asked what had happened he was then informed that the paper does not print unmarried couple’s obituaries. And then the editor he spoke with took it further citing the Bible and the AR marriage ammendment that bans not only marriage but civil unions and domestic partnerships as well. She then went on to tell him that if they included him they’d have to start publishing the names of people’s pets. And more importantly when she said this she did not know he had listed his pets in John’s obituary.

    So yes this was an act of homophbia and not just a newspaper’s policy. We (CAR) are the statewide equality organization that Terence came to for help. We are addressing this on the face of its homophbia and also that no survivor GAY or STRAIGHT! should be forced to pay in order to be recognized in their partner’s obituary. We are now addressing this horrid defamatory editorial.

    Any business can make a policy. Is the policy fair? That’s another question. Throughout history we have seen the practices of businesses discriminatory policies come under fire. None of who initially changed their policy just because it was called out as unfair. This paper would not dare today to have such a discriminatory access policy based on religion, race, ethnicity gender, age or ability. So why is it okay for them to play moral police in this case? Why do they get to decide whose families are worthy of their free services. This policy is an affront to those families who can not or do not marry.

    Terence was in the hospital yesterday (where he remains)when he learned of the paper’s editorial. He was devastated to hear the details. He has been very ill with Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever since before his partner’s death and now the doctors are concerned that he too may have spinal meningitis. He has vowed not to die before justice prevails.

    GLAAD came into AR after reading the QUEERTY story, they did not contact us regarding their efforts despite the fact that the QUEERTY story clearly cites us as running this campaign. We did ask for HRC’s help and they have been very helpful. And we are pleased to note that we are all now on the same page with GLAAD. Because the most important thing here is to make this right for Terence and all other families who may not fit the paper’s code.

  • den

    Here’s the letter I sent….

    So you decided to show your true “non-Christlike” colors and purposefully embarrass the grieving partner by calling him out in public. That was a dumb move on a couple levels. It only further rubs salt in the wounds of every gay person who has experienced your kind of condescension and disdain. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Instead of quietly correcting and evolving with the times – change your policy on listing life partners – you chose to play along with the semblance of an apology – and then out of anger or a feeling that it was you who was unfairly targeted – you struck out by using your paper to demean that grieving partner.

    “See, good folks of Batesville, how evil and disturbed this man is – this pervert – He even wanted pets listed as children – isn’t that nuts? Weren’t we right to try to erase this man’s existence from the deceased’s life? Doesn’t this prove our point that these people are “less than” and unworthy! After all, these gay folks have an AGENDA, they are the ones who ATTACK US!” – That’s what you are basically saying by what you printed today. Never mind that this was all just about a grieving person who you could easily have mentioned at no real added cost to you – other than showing some real, decent humanity.

    Shame on you. You have done yourself no favors and shown the darkness of your intentions and heart by doing so. You are a disgrace to the many fine, loving people of Arkansas.

  • the crustybastard

    Naturally, where the deceased went to church for maybe one hour a week is included as a matter of course, while the deceased’s lifelong romantic partner is excluded as a matter of course.

    Perfectly reasonable, and completely what Baby Jesus would want.

    The Reverend Fred Phelps commends you for this bit of toenail-chewing, Batesville Daily Guard.

    Way to live down to your Arkansas stereotypes!

  • ToyotaBedZRock

    After they ran that I’d sue them.

    That is so insulting to put in the paper after someone died.

  • TomMc

    @Mike: Indeed. I wasn’t terribly clear in that post. Sorry.

    I’d never impugn an entire State predicated upon the behavior of some of its less-enlightened(phrase choice?) citizens. However, the geographic distric that this newspaper represents has seen more than its fair share ‘homophobic’ incidents in the recent past.

    Further, I didn’t adequately articulate how not un-proud I was of Queerty for trying to right a wrong. Queerty stepped up to the plate, and I am impressed that they intervened; though the ultimate conclusion of this story is still in limbo, Queerty’s good intentions are not.

    Thanks for your response Mike. It forced me to come back to this and attempt to clarify what I was thinking at the time. Much appreciated.

  • TomMc

    *districT (sheesh)

  • TomMc

    *fair share OF ‘homophobic’… (That’s it; no more commenting for me today.)

  • Dodgy

    frankly, is it not mean-spirited and, dare I say it, unchristian to refuse to name unmarried partners in obit.s regardless of their gender, without worrying about the case of indirect discrimination against same sex partnerships?

  • Randi Romo

    Update – Terence learned today that he too has spinal meningitis, the disease that killed his beloved John. The paper stands firm and we continue to organize to change the policy, have the obituary reprinted and an apology forthcoming for Mr. James.

  • irritated from arkansas

    What matters when a person dies is how much they were loved when they were here, NOT what is written in an obituary. If a man died today in batesville with a live-in girlfriend her name would not have been mentioned either. I am all for a good cause but I don’t think this would have become an issue if it was a straight couple fighting for a reprint because a girlfriend was excluded. Would any of you be typing on this if it was for a straight person??

  • Dodgy

    @irritated from arkansas: Frankly, I DO thint that being able to express that love in an obituary can be impoprtant to the grieving loved one’s left behind. and, as I said in my post (just above yours, I,for one, am just as dismayed that the newspaper in question refuses to list unmarried partners whether same sex or of another gender.

    I do agree, howeveer, that the likelihood of my having heard the story, being that I live in a provincial city in the North East of England, had the couple in question been heterosexual.

    What I don’t agree with, however, is that this makes the coldness of the newspaper ok. This simply indicates that we should have loving care and concern for all people mistreated by newspapers, or others in this kind of way, and not be partial and favour only those with whom we share what is, at root, a fairly trivial common trait.

    Love is love whomever it is between. What should not be important is what you choose to do with your willy.

  • Jamie

    Lmao.. They must be getting a lot of complaints. I called and was directly referred to their lawyer. So now I’m going to try shooting off an email. If you want to see it then I’ll be posting it, along with any response I get, to my blog (http://friendlyneighborhoodgay.tumblr.com)

    Also, sorry in advance if re-posting your blog link in the actual text isn’t allowed. I checked with the comments policy, but it didn’t really say.. So.. I guess as long as it’s not spammy, right?

  • zintheth

    so… legalize gay marriage?

Comments are closed.