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Arkansas newspaper working with GLAAD after omitting life partner from gay man's obituary

News release from GLAAD:

After his partner was omitted from his obituary, the spokesperson for The Batesville Guard out of Batesville, Arkansas, Oscar Jones, told GLAAD today, “When a gay person loses their partner, the loss is no less, and they need to be treated the same.”  He expressed sympathy for Mr. James, and stated an interest in apologizing to him directly if given the opportunity.

GLAAD has been working this story for the last 24 hours and is in dialogue with the paper's lawyers to draft a permanent change in policy there.

from: glaad.org/blog-- http://glaadblog.org/2011/06/23/arkansas-paper-to-change-policy-to-include-partners-in-obits/.

On Wednesday, GLAAD read of the disturbing situation in Batesville, Arkansas.  As Queerty reported:

When it became clear that John Christopher Millican would not recover, his partner of 10 years, Terrance James, was the only person at his side. Alone, he made the difficult decision to end the life support. Mr. Millican passed away on June 11th of this year.

Wrought with grief, Mr. James filled out the paperwork for his late partner’s obituary for the local publication, the Batesville Guard. When the obituary ran, however, it listed the names of Millican’s deceased parents, his siblings, with whom he had little contact, but no mention of Terrance James or even that there was a surviving partner.

GLAAD, like Queerty, reached out to the paper to address this awful injustice.  The paper is now in the process of re-writing the Obituary policy, to ensure this would never happen again.   The paper accepted GLAAD’s offer to provide suggestions on how to improve their policy to recognize the dignity of gay people.

The paper’s spokesperson, Oscar Jones, told GLAAD, “When a gay person loses their partner, the loss is no less, and they need to be treated the same.”  He expressed sympathy for Mr. James, and stated an interest in apologizing to him directly if given the opportunity.

GLAAD has asked the paper to re-run Mr. Millican’s obituary and to include his partner’s name.

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