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Newspaper rejects same-sex wedding notice
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones appeared in People magazine and USA Today after the couple wed in San Francisco last year on the first day that California recognized gay marriages.

But when they tried to buy a wedding announcement this week in their hometown newspaper, the St. George Spectrum , they were denied. In an e-mail to Jones, publisher Donnie Welch said the paper's policy is to "run marriage announcements recognized by Utah law."

"It was discriminatory," Jones said Thursday. "We were treated differently here solely for the fact that we are gay. Our marriage is as valid and legal as anyone else's."

Jones, 30, and Barrick, 28, live in San Francisco but met in St. George, where Jones grew up -- delivering Spectrum copies as a boy -- and where Barrick attended college.

They were married June 17, 2008 -- joining hundreds of other couples who flooded city halls around California to mark the historic day -- but planned to hold a traditional wedding celebration with family and friends this year. (California voters overturned gay marriage last November when they passed Proposition 8, but the state still recognizes nuptials that were performed in the interim.)

Jones and Barrick will share their vows again Sept. 6 next to the Russian River in Sonoma County, Calif. And Barrick's mother, Linda Stay, is hosting an open house for the couple at her home in southern Utah on Aug. 22. The family prepared a wedding announcement to herald both events.

"I want my friends to celebrate with me that [my son] has found somebody as equally committed and beautiful [as he is] to spend his life with," Stay said. "That's what this is about."

Welch, on Thursday, did not return phone or e-mail messages, seeking comment on his decision not to run the ad.

The Salt Lake Tribune , owned by MediaNews Group Inc., has accepted Jones and Barrick's announcement and will run it Saturday. It will not run in the Deseret News , owned by the LDS Church. The church opposes gay marriage and urged its members last year to support Prop. 8.

"The policy of The Salt Lake Tribune is that it will accept all wedding announcements. That is a decision made by the publisher," said Brent Low, president and CEO of MediaOne of Utah, which handles advertising, printing and distribution for The Tribune and the News .

"We are an affiliate and an agent for the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune , and we carry out the wishes of the board and the publishers of the two newspapers," Low said.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has contacted Welch and urged its members to lobby The Spectrum to publish the announcement. On its blog, GLAAD notes that the St. George paper is part of Gannett, a national media chain in which 85 percent of the papers that run wedding announcements run ads placed by same-sex couples.

rwinters@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rwinters@sltrib.com

Paul Beebe contributed to this story.

Gay marriage » Hometown paper says it prints only marriages recognized by state law.
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