A newspaper from Batesville, a large town northeast of Little Rock, Arkansas, purposefully erased the name of a man’s partner from his obituary because he was gay.
Terrance James, who lived with and stayed by the side of his partner, John Christopher Millican, during Millican’s final hours, recently found himself erased from his partner’s life by the editors of the Batesville Daily Guard.
This type of censorship is a disgrace, and brings shame upon the integrity of local journalism. Most importantly, it dishonors the life of Mr. Millican, a man who faces discrimination even after death simply because of his sexual orientation.
Here is the content of the letter:
Apologize for Omitting Gay Man’s Partner from Obituary
I recently learned of your apparent disregard for the loved one of a local man who died recently, by omitting his partner from the man’s obituary.
I ask that you please issue an apology immediately, and reprint the John Christopher Millican’s obituary as it was submitted by — and recognizing — his partner, Terrance James, who lived with Mr. Millican and was there with him in his final hours.
Anything short of this would be absurd and disrespectful to the memory and life of Mr. Millican, and to all of those who desire to live in a society free of editorial censorship regarding someone’s life based upon their sexual orientation.
I will await your response both in your paper, and to my e-mail address.