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Houston Voice, No. 998, December 10, 1999
File 009
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Houston Voice, No. 998, December 10, 1999 - File 009. 1999-12-10. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 23, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1439/show/1414.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1999-12-10). Houston Voice, No. 998, December 10, 1999 - File 009. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1439/show/1414

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 998, December 10, 1999 - File 009, 1999-12-10, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 23, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1439/show/1414.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 998, December 10, 1999
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date December 10, 1999
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript VOICES AND ECHOES DECEMBER 10, 1999 • HOUSTON VOICE EDITORIAL Anti-gay ads in our own papers? STAFF Associate Publisher Mike Fleming mikeOhoustonvoice.com Editor Matthew A. Hennie editorOhoustonvoice.com Production Bethany Bartran - Graphic Designer Mike Swenson - Graphic Designer Contributors Rich Arenschieldt, Kay Y. Dayus, Trayce Diskin, Earl Dittman, D.L. Groover, Robert B. Henderson, Gip Plaster, Ella Tyler Photographers Dalton DeHart. Kim Thompson, Terry Sullivan Advertising Sales Richard B. Hayes Ken Burd Office Administrator Marshall Rainwater Classifieds & Directory Carolyn A. Roberts Carolyn White National Advertising Representative Rivendell Marketing Company, Inc. 212-242-6863 Publishers Chris Crain Rick Ellsasser A WindowMedia Publication 171 National r Cay ■ New-spo-per n cuiid MEMBER CHARTER MEMBER GREATER HOUSTON GAY & LESBIAN I CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Established 1974 as the Montrose Star. 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 (713) 529-8490 (800) 729-8490 Fax;(713) 529-9531 Contents copyright 1999 Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays To submit a letter Letters should be fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. We will withhold names upon request, but you must include your name and phone number for verification. Please send mail to Houston Voice, 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston. Texas 77006, fax (713) 529-9531 or e-mail to editorOhouston voice.com. Opinions expressed therein do not reflect those of the Houston Voice. What if you were flipping through this week's issue of Houston Voice and happened upon page 24, which featured a snazzy ad promoting a daylong conference called "Love Won Out," where according to the ad you could "find answers to your questions about homosexuality"? A provocative topic, to be sure, and the ad's appearance in a gay newspaper might lead you to believe it's put on by a local gay therapy group or even the Metropolitan Community Church. In fine print, the ad says the seminar is to be presented by Focus on the Family. For regular Houston Voice readers, that would raise the red flag. Focus on the Family is a right-wing religious group out of Colorado, founded by Dr. James Dobson, a popular talk radio host. It's the same group that was principally responsible for funding last year's "ex- gay" newspaper ads that appeared in mainstream papers across the country. Back then, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation joined with other gay activists in calling on newspapers to reject the "conversion ads" because they were offensive and went against the entire body of scientific evidence on the nature of sexual orientation. Surely, if we're calling on mainstream newspapers not to run such advertisements, they would never appear in the pages of our publications. Yet there it was, on page 24 of the Oct. 28 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, the largest and most respected gay newspaper in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, publication of the ad raised the ire of many gay San Franciscans, who took the paper to task for caving into "political correctness" and participating in an effort to mislead those struggling with coming out. The BAR didn't just publish the ad, though. It also ran a front page story about the anti-gay agenda behind the Love Won Out seminar, an editorial— with the headline "Free Speech Won Out"—defending the decision to publish the ad, and the newspaper presented a check for $231.60, the amount charged for the ad, to an area AIDS service organization. The Bay Area Reporter claimed that its decision was a principled stand against the same sort of censorship that kept gays from winning coverage in mainstream newspapers, though that position confuses a publisher's decision to accept an advertisement with every newspaper's journalistic responsibility to air all sides in a story or on its opinion pages. In fact, every newspaper has policies that result in refusing ads based on their content. Most will not publish explicit or offensive ads or those that advocate illegal activity. Most won't accept advertisements that the publisher knows are false or misleading. Federal law prohibits newspapers from allowing advertising for housing or employment that expressly discriminate on the basis of race and other protected categories (not including sexual orientation). Many newspapers make it a policy to refuse advertisements of any sort by businesses that discriminate against the typical class of protected categories, including sexual orientation. But having a policy and enforcing it when it means saying no to money have always been two different things. At the other end of the spectrum, Z-*.,_.* *., "oZ-^-. : - wffl I] i®> il SM "1 ■1——irSmmL .n rSSfi jlKV^ni -ZZSK/ffi mm *160MiLLiON „,c05Ts. IMPETERMINEP some newspapers won't run ads with content that the publishers strongly disagree with or fear their readers will strongly disagree with. That's the sort of timidity that has resulted in the refusal of gay-oriented ads. To this day, most big city newspapers won't run commitment ceremony ads on equal footing with paid wedding announcements. So where along the spectrum is this newspaper? Focus on the Family hasn't approached Houslon Voice about placing a similar ad, but we would refuse if they did. If the ad advocated conversion of sexual orientation through therapy or prayer, we would refuse it because we know the claim to be false and misleading. We have that base-level responsibility to our readers. The BAR ad is subtle, though, not saying much about the plans for the seminar. That sort of hide-the-ball tactic in itself could be considered misleading enough to justify refusing the ad. But there's an even more solid ground. We also will not publish ads by organizations or businesses that we know discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. It's safe to say that Focus on the Family discriminates in hiring and promotion on the basis of sexual orientation, refusing to accept individuals who are openly gay and unwilling to undergo "conversion therapy" of the sort practiced at Love Won Out seminars. That policy cannot be taken to say this newspaper vouches for the workplace of every one of its advertisers. We cannot investigate each and every advertiser, but where an anti-gay practice is open and notorious, we will not do business. The question, to be sure, isn't an easy one. Line-drawing can prove extremely difficult. Local gay-positive churches, for example, run ads with this paper but won't perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and often affiliate with denominations that won't allow openly gay ministers in the pulpit. And yet out and proud gay parishioners fill their pews every week, testimony to their acceptance with at least a portion of our readership. Ultimately, the decision to close a newspaper forum down to a particular viewpoint is an excruciatingly difficult one for a newspaper publisher, whose gut is with giving a reader more speech, not less. So it comes down to a case-by-case, soul-searching decision, and as always, input from our readers on the issue is welcome. We can promise one thing: Any time this newspaper refuses an ad based on the policies at issue here, we will report that refusal on these pages, letting you know with whom your newspaper won't dp business
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