Utah newspaper bars gay wedding announcement

Jessica Geen August 14, 2009
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A gay couple who married in California last year have been barred from placing their wedding announcement in a Utah newspaper.

Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones, who were raised in the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, married in June 2008 while gay marriage was legal in California.

Jones, a Utah native, wanted an announcement printed in his family’s local paper, Spectrum, in St George to coincide with a family party.

The newspaper accepted the request at first but said it would not publish a photo of the couple.

After Jones emailed editor Donnie Welch to ask him to reconsider, Welch said he had changed his mind about publishing the announcement.

According to an email seen by Associated Press, Welch wrote: “As our policy is to run marriage announcements recognised by Utah law, I have made the decision not to run the announcement.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has also tried to intervene and has said it will contact Spectrum advertisers, many of whom have anti-discrimination policies.

The publication was included last year in GLAAD’s list of inclusive newspapers.

Jones said: “I’ve thought a lot about the gay and lesbian kids who are surely all over the place in southern Utah, and maybe it’s gratuitous on my part, but they need to see this announcement in the paper.

“When I was a kid … I would have loved to have seen a picture of two guys having their life together celebrated in the paper.”

The couple’s announcement will now run in the Salt Lake Tribune instead.

Utah is a strictly Mormon state and gay marriage is banned.

In 2008, the Church of Latter-day Saints was instrumental in bringing about Proposition 8, the initiative which banned gay marriage in California.

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