HRC Blog

Fighting Discrimination at the South Bend Tribune

The following post comes from HRC Field Organizer Adrian Matanza: Mary Ponterio and Linda Bentz are, indeed, two extraordinary women. They met at the AIDS walk in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2008, where Linda was volunteering at the HRC booth and Mary was working the AIDS Task Force booth. What happened after that was storybook material. Linda’s handouts blew off her table and into Mary’s area. They introduced themselves to each other and the rest is history. I met Linda back in November 2007 while working on a campaign in Las Vegas. When I arrived in Indiana last year to work on ENDA and repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” Linda was the first person I thought to contact. She and Mary are heavily involved in GLBT advocacy. They are respectful to everyone, committed to the South Bend community, and open-minded to all kinds of ideas. Unfortunately, some people in their community were not as open-minded toward them. To announce their engagement, Linda and Mary decided to post an advertisement in the South Bend Tribune. Shortly after applying for their engagement announcement, they were declined on the basis that they were a same-sex couple. Aside from obvious discrimination problems with the South Bend Tribune declining their application for an advertisement, there is not even a written policy at the Tribune saying engagement announcements are for heterosexual couples only. This was just blatant, hideous discrimination on the part of the South Bend Tribune. HRC has been working to bring about a remedy for Linda and Mary. We've been working in Indiana to urge Senator Bayh to support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” but it is still vital to the health and future of all Hoosiers that we support Linda and Mary in their struggle for equality in South Bend, just as they have worked tirelessly for the LGBT community. To voice your opinions regarding the South Bend Tribune's practice of denying same-sex couples from publishing their engagement and wedding announcements, please contact David Ray, Editor and Publisher, through email at dray@sbtinfo.com, by phone at 574-235-6161, or through mail at 225 W. Colfax Ave. South Bend, IN 46626.

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