On August 13th, 2009, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the St. George Spectrum has rejected a California gay couple's wedding announcement, saying its policy is to publish announcements only for marriages legal under state law. Additional reports on this story now published by the Salt Lake City Weekly, KTVX Channel 4, and KSL Channel 5 (347 public comments so far). A much more extensive version of this story has now been published in the St. George Spectrum.
According to Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones, the Spectrum initially accepted their paid wedding announcement last week, then changed course. The couple was legally married in San Francisco on June 17th, 2008, and wanted the announcement printed in Jones' hometown paper, although Jones no longer lives in St. George. The couple provided the media with a copy of an e-mail exchange between themselves and the Spectrum. Jones claims their so-called "marriage" deserves equal treatment, while in response, Spectrum publisher Donnie Welch cited the paper's policy of only promoting marriages that are valid in Utah.
Jones, a Utah native, and Barrick, 28, were both raised as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church is opposed to gay marriage and called on its members last year to give time and money to the campaign to pass California's Proposition 8. "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," he said. "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."
This, of course, is strong circumstantial evidence that a state-by-state approach will not work. Even though Utah does not recognize gay marriage, the couple sought to impose recognition of their so-called "marriage" upon a Utah entity. Gay marriage in one state will merely be a Trojan horse for gay marriages in other state. This is why we need national "Defense of Marriage" legislation.
The Spectrum waited a day before addressing this issue on their website, although someone started a discussion thread in their forum. The Spectrum may also remember the firestorm of criticism stirred up when the Logan Herald-Journal published the wedding announcement of a lesbian couple on July 27th, 2008.
Regardless of the Spectrum's editorial views on gay marriage, the paper, being a privately-owned entity, has the right to reject any advertising at any time for any reason.