Three weeks ago, we told you about the Northwest Arkansas Times, a newspaper that is refusing to print the engagement announcement of Cody Renegar & Thomas Staed, a loving and committed gay couple who are planning to get married this summer. Since then, more than 2,600 people have signed a Change.org petition that urges the paper to make its engagement/wedding/anniversary announcement policy fully inclusive. Though the Northwest Arkansas Times has yet to formally announce a policy change, the paper is now devoting time and space in its opinion pages to local readers who are asking them to treat all loving and committed relationships equally.
On Saturday, February 11, the Northwest Arkansas Times published - in print and online - the letter below from Rev. Clint Schnekloth, the pastor of Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (NOTE: If you don't have a paid subscription to the Northwest Arkansas Times, you won't be able to read the full text of Rev. Schnekloth's letter to the editor at NWAonline.com. We've posted the screenshot below with you in mind.)
GLAAD is deeply grateful to Rev. Schnekloth for his witness to the Northwest Arkansas Times on behalf of Cody & Thomas and all of Arkansas' loving and committed couples. We've been in touch with Rev. Schnekloth, and he tells us that he's received "all kinds of love" from people thanking him for the letter. We believe this is indicative of the fact that the majority of folks in Arkansas, just like the rest of the country, are in agreement that love and committment between two people who want to take care of each other is cause for celebration... a celebration that's meant to be shared among friends, family and one's community...including one's hometown newspaper.
GLAAD is also aware that other individuals have submitted (or are in the process of submitting) letters to the editor, and we look forward to their publication as well. In the end, we hope the Northwest Arkansas Times will do the right thing by standing up for inclusivity and affirming that discrimination has no place in its pages.