A US newspaper has apologised after deleting a gay man’s partner from his obituary and saying that the partner is equivalent to the late man’s pets.
According to a report by Queerty, Terrance James had to make the difficult decision to take his partner of 10 years, John Christopher Millican, off life support. Millican passed away on June 11th.
The grief-stricken James then wrote and submitted an obituary to the Batesville Guard.
The Arkansas newspaper, however, without his permission or knowledge, deleted references to James and to Millican having a surviving partner in the obituary, instead including the late man’s deceased parents and estranged siblings.
Same-sex partners cannot marry in Arkansas
When questioned by Queerty, the Batesville Guard’s general manager Pat Jones defended the decision by saying: “It’s not a gay thing. We don’t list unmarried couples, in-laws, or pets in the free obituaries.”
However, the newspaper’s policy fails to recognise that same-sex partners cannot marry in the state of Arkansas while heterosexual couples can.
Following intervention by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and other gay groups, the newspaper apologised and offered to republish the un-edited version of the obituary originally written by James.
It is also reviewing its obituary policy to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
The Batesville Guard 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.”