Batesville Daily Guard, Arkansas Paper, Omits Gay Man's Partner From Obituary

06/22/2011 12:31 pm ET | Updated Aug 22, 2011

The Batesville Daily Guard, an Arkansas newspaper, has come under fire after it excluded a gay man's partner of ten years from his obituary.

John Christopher Millican died earlier this month of spinal meningitis. His partner, Terrance James, was the only person with him when he died and made the decision to end life support.

From Queerty:

Wrought with grief, Mr. James filled out the paperwork for his late partner’s obituary for the local publication, the Batesville Guard. When the obituary ran, however, it listed the names of Millican’s deceased parents, his siblings, with whom he had little contact, but no mention of Terrance James or even that there was a surviving partner.

Pat Jones, the general manager of the Batesville Daily Guard, told Queerty: “It’s not a gay thing. We don’t list unmarried couples, in-laws, or pets in the free obituaries.”

Oscar Jones, an attorney whose family has run the paper for over 80 years, told KARK-4 that the paper's obituary policy has always been only to include in its free obituaries the names of legally recognized spouses. Arkansas only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman.

Oscar Jones conceded, however, that the paper's policy "should be reviewed."

The Center for Artistic Revolution, an LGBTQ equal rights organization in Little Rock that has called for the paper to change its policy, notes that the Batesville Daily Guard was the local paper that covered the story of Clint McCance, the Arkansas School Board member who last fall made headlines when he wrote on his Facebook page that he wanted "fags" to commit suicide.

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