HRC and Center for Artistic Revolution Condemn Arkansas Paper’s Discriminatory Obituary Policy

by HRC Staff

Calling on Paper to Recognize Loving, Committed Couples


Washington - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest civil rights organization fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, and the Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR), an organization working for fairness and equality for all Arkansans, today called on the Batesville Daily Guard to abolish their discriminatory policy of refusing to publish the names of unmarried couples in obituaries.

The action came about following an exchange Batesville resident Terrance James had with the paper’s managing editor, Angelia Roberts. James’ partner of ten years recently passed away from spinal meningitis. James wrote and submitted an obituary to the Guard – but when the obit ran, all mentions of James had been removed. Instead, only James’ partner’s siblings and deceased parents were referenced. Roberts told James the paper had a strict policy of not giving ink to unmarried couples, and offered to rerun the obituary – for a fee of $85.

“This is the last thing anyone grieving the loss of a loved one needs to be dealing with,” said Randi Romo, CAR’s Executive Director. “The Batesville Daily Guard needs to immediately apologize to Terrance James, reprint his partner’s obituary for free, and update their policies to reflect the bond all loving, committed Arkansas couples share.”

“It’s worth noting that committed LGBT couples in Arkansas don’t have the option to marry,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “This is a homophobic policy that is a slap in the face to couples throughout Arkansas. This paper needs to get with the times and update their policies to reflect the realities that many of their readers live in.”

To speak up and tell the Guard to change their policy, add your name to our petition.

Recent polling from Gallup shows that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans (53 percent) support marriage equality. LGBT couples in Arkansas have no access to marriage equality, civil unions or domestic partnerships. For maps of marriage and relationship recognition laws in the states, please visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

The Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR) was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2003 by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Arkansans (LGBTQ) and their straight allies who believe that all people should have equitable access to fair treatment, a democratic political process, and economic and environmental justice.

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