GLAAD Got An AR Newspaper To Include Gays, So How About This WA Printer?

Remember the Arkansas paper that wouldn’t list a deceased man’s gay partner in the obituary because, “We don’t list unmarried couples, in-laws, or pets”? Well, GLAAD has reached out to the paper; the paper will re-write its obituary policy to include gay partners and re-run the obituary and donate the proceeds along with $85 to a cause or organization of the living partner’s choosing.

So now that they’re done there will they head over to Seattle Washington where Access Printed Media refused to print text-only promotional materials for Diesel, a new gay bar in the city’s gay district?

Cienna Madrid from The Seattle Stranger has the deets:

Mike Reis and his partner, Mark Hurst, placed a 2,500-flier order with Kent-based company Access Printed Media, which advertises “business and promotional printing you can rely on.”…

But on Tuesday, they received an email from the printer. “I have some bad news. :/,” wrote Sarah Wheeler, an employee with Access Printed Media. “Not that we’re against homosexuals at all, but because knowing that our printed products will be advertising and promoting the kind of lifestyle that goes against our morals is something that [the owner] can’t bring himself to do… :/”

“We were horrified when we got the email,” says Reis. “I felt sickened, furious, humiliated. Obviously, they do have a problem with homosexuals, but they couldn’t even pick up the phone and call us. You’d expect this kind of close-mindedness somewhere else—out of the state or east of the mountains. Not here.”

Reached by phone today, Wheeler admitted that the Diesel flyers depicted “nothing inflammatory whatsoever.”

Wheeler reiterated that the decision was “nothing against homosexuals themselves. We’re just not morally able to promote that kind of a lifestyle.”

Wheeler says the company has no written document that outlines the business’s moral-related printing policy. She did say they once refused to print an advertisement for a tarot reader. She also declined to tell this reporter more about the printer’s moral code, saying that I “sounded close-minded.” She added, “We’re a small business owned by a small conservative Christian family. I’m sorry but we have values and we can print whatever we want.”

But the ACLU of WA says the printer can’t legally turn down the job. “The print shop’s refusal to provide services violated state law,” states ACLU spokesman Doug Honig. “The Washington Law Against Discrimination… bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and require[s] businesses open to the general public to serve all customers equally. The bar owner can file a complaint with the WA Human Rights Commission. The ACLU would be glad to hear from the bar owner and provide assistance if he wishes to pursue the matter.”

Yesterday the company responded with a message on their now-taken-down website reading:

If you are directed to this website due to a blog posting about our business, here is “the rest of the story.” The employee sited in the article sent an unauthorized e-mail regarding an inquiry for postcards. This e-mail angered the prospect, and we can understand why. There were unnecessary comments regarding morality in the e-mail. The comments in the e-mail were rude, and would never have been communicated with our authorization. This e-mail led our prospect to forward it to the writer of this article. We didn’t even know about this e-mail until this morning when a reporter called. Please understand, we are a very small business, family owned. We often decline to print jobs, even wedding invitations. Does that mean we are anti-marriage? No, it does not. It just means we do not want to print wedding invitations. The situation you have read about has been grossly exaggerated. Please forgive us for any harm or upset we have caused. We respectfully ask that all inquires to this matter be put to rest. We mean no harm, and we ask that you do not harm us. We only seek to live in peace.

Keep in mind, I don’t want this print shop to go out of business, even if they do equate gay bars with tarot readings. Communities need print shops and it’d suck to deprive the entire Kent area of printing just because they made an offensive and bone-headed move.

That being said, how about having some business sense? First, if you don’t wanna print something say that you cannot take on the job because your press is over-committed. If you wanna be helpful then refer them to another press that does like tarot card readers and bear bars.

Second, once the anger starts, don’t write something on your blog asking people to leave you alone. Say that you’ve reprimanded the fuck out of that employee and that you support the entire community and that you’re drafting an official policy to make sure this never happens again.

Then, send the bar an apology along with a promise to do some small free printing for them and then give a small donation to an LGBT organization. See? Easy. But nooooooo… Access Media Printing had to get all fussy about it and now they have two choices: do the public penance with GLAAD or hope that this story fades quickly.