It’s one thing to refuse to publish their same-sex wedding ad. But to then charge them for it? The Dallas Morning News is quickly becoming the state’s most-hated newspaper. Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, the couple who tried (and failed) to become the country’s first e-married gay couple, wanted to celebrate their union in the newspaper’s pages — but were rebuffed. The Morning News would run their announcement only in the “Commitments” section, not “Weddings,” a possible violation of the state’s ban on anti-gay discrimination in public accommodations, which the A.H. Belo Corp.-owned paper certainly engages in by operating a paid-for Weddings placement business. So while the Walkups await a ruling on their discrimination complaint, they have another chapter to add to their story: a $1,034 bill from the Morning News for the unpublished spot.
“Does the DMN always send out invoices to ‘customers’ who placed an ad online but it was never published due to the paper’s discriminatory policies?,” writes Dante in a letter to James Moroney III, the Morning News‘ publisher and CEO. “We just received an invoice today for our December ad that you banned from your paper because our wedding wasn’t ‘really’ a wedding in your eyes. Unbelievable.”
Moroney responds: “Not a good practice. I’ll take up with sales. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.”
Know what’s not a good practice? Keeping gays out of your Weddings section. Which isn’t a sales department matter, but an ethical one.