Utah Paper Rejects Same-Sex Wedding Announcement

By: E&P Staff The Spectrum of St. George, Utah has rejected a wedding announcement submitted by a same-sex couple because the marriage was not legal under Utah law.

Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones submitted a paid wedding announcement to The Spectrum, Jones' hometown paper, after they were legally married in California on June 17. The couple now live in San Francisco, and wished the announcement to appear in the paper ahead of a family party next week.

The Spectrum originally accepted the submission on the condition that the announcement run without a photo of the couple, on the grounds that it would disturb some readers. Jones urged Spectrum publisher, Donnie Welch to reconsider his decision, saying in an e-mail that was reprinted by the Associated Press: "After all, our marriage is just as real and legal and entitled to celebration as any of the others that are announced each week in the pages of The Spectrum."

According to the AP, Welch responded, "While that may be the case in some states it is not the case in the state of Utah. As our policy is to run marriage announcements recognized by Utah law, I have made the decision not to run the announcement."

Jones told the AP that the Spectrum clerk who processed his announcement made no mention of the policy, and later told Jones that it was a new policy she had not known about. The Salt Lake Tribune has already accepted the couple's announcement.

Gay marriage is banned in Utah, and it is opposed by the Salt Lake-based Mormon church, in which both Barrick and Jones were raised. However, the Spectrum, which is owned by Gannett Co., has previously appeared on the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) list of "inclusive" newspapers, referring to newspapers who will print same-sex marriage announcements.

Representatives from GLAAD have already contacted the Spectrum and Gannett Co. to express their concerns over the paper's decision, and plan to contact the paper's advertisers as well.

"At the end of the day, this is not about their editorial pages or the opinions of their columnists," GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson told AP. "This is about the celebration pages reflecting the community, and a community is going to have people from many very different walks of life. We are diminished if our stories are put aside."


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