LGBTQ

'Like He Didn't Exist': Texas Paper Edits Grieving Gay Son's Husband out of Mom's Obituary

Newspaper publisher claims he can't publish anything "contrary to God's word."

Photo Credit: Screenshot / Fox News

A local newspaper in Texas removed references to a gay couple in one of the men's mother’s obituary, citing "religious and ethical reasons," Fox News 4 reports.

Barry Giles and John Gambill, who have been married for 31 years, say the Olto, Texas, paper scrubbed references to Gambill after Giles’ mom died. The couple had included both their names in the obituary they sent to Giles’ hometown paper, writing “those left to cherish her memory include her son, Barry Giles and his husband, John Gambill of Dallas.”

The decision left the couple distraught.

“It wiped John completely off the picture like he didn’t exist,” Giles said.

“She’s like my second mom, you know,” Gambill told Fox News 4.

“We’re human beings like anyone else,” Giles said. “We have feelings. We have relationships, whether he agrees with them or not.”

Gambill said he confronted Phillip Hamilton, the newspaper publisher, asking why his name was excluded from his mother-in-law's obituary. Hamilton replied, "Because I wanted to.”

“Of course, I had a few choice words to say to him,” Gambill told Fox News 4.

In a statement, Hamilton defended his decision to leave out Gambill’s name and relationship to Giles.

“It is my religious conviction that a male cannot have a husband,” Hamilton said. “It is also my belief that to publish anything contrary to God’s Word on this issue would be to publish something in the newspaper that is not true.”

“The newspaper respects the First Amendment rights of those who express such opinions,” Hamilton said. “The newspaper’s decision to edit the obituary is both ethical and lawful. It would be unethical to publish a news item that is known by the editor to be false. Based on the truth found in the Word of God, I could not in good conscience identify Mr. Gambill as the husband of Mr. Giles.”

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.