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GLAAD: Newspaper to republish unedited obituary for gay man's partner; HRC launches own protest

GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro now reports:

Here’s the latest on this situation: The paper has agreed to GLAAD to re-run the obituary with the partner included. The cost of the $85 dollar re-print will be paid by GLAAD and those proceeds will be donated to charity. The Newspaper will make a donation in the amount of $85 in memory of Mr. John Christopher Millican to a cause or organization of Mr. James' choosing. Mr James was moved to tears with this development, though he is sadly ill.

Late this afternoon, HRC announced it would place this full-page ad in The Guard:

From HRC:

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest civil rights organization fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, will run a full-page ad in tomorrow’s Batesville Daily Guard calling on the newspaper to reverse its discriminatory policy of not recognizing loving, committed couples in its free obituaries.

The paper’s current policy only allows for the recognition of married couples in its free obituaries. Oscar Jones, Legal Counsel to the Guard, tells HRC the paper’s board will meet next week to take official action on a policy change. Jones says he “hopes and believes the policy will be changed.”

HRC launched an action earlier today calling on the Guard to reverse their policy. In just four hours, nearly 1,500 people sent petitions to the paper.

“The Batesville Daily Guard needs to reverse course and implement a policy that ensures all committed couples can be remembered together in obituaries,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “LGBT couples in Arkansas don’t have the option of marrying – but that doesn’t mean they should be penalized from having their relationships recognized, particularly during times of grief.”

View the full page ad.

HRC is working in partnership with the Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR), a statewide LGBT organization in Arkansas, on advocating for the policy change. CAR spoke out after learning that a man had been deleted from his deceased partner’s obituary and would be required to pay $85 to have a new version printed.

To speak up and tell the Guard to change their policy, add your name to our petition.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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