A gay couple has filed a discrimination complaint against The Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish their same-sex wedding announcement.
Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup, who were legally married in Washington, D.C., in October, filed the complaint on Friday. The couple’s wedding has made international news in recent weeks because it was held in Dallas but officiated from D.C. via Skype.
Reed- Walkup said he’s been trying for several weeks to get The Morning News to publish their paid announcement in its “Weddings” section. But the newspaper has refused due to a policy that says same-sex wedding announcements can only be published in a separate section called “Commitments.” The policy reportedly is based on the fact that same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Texas.
The couple filed the complaint under a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. Reed-Walkup says he believes wedding announcements, which are paid advertisements, constitute a public accommodation.
“Our ultimate goal is for the newspaper to realize that this is discrimination and change their policy,” Reed-Walkup said. “They [the city] may agree with the newspaper that because of the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas, they have every justification to not publish it in the ‘Weddings’ section. At least we can say that we tried, and take it from there.”
Beverly Davis, director of the city’s Fair Housing Office, said she didn’t receive the complaint until Monday.
“We just got it,” Davis said Monday afternoon. “I haven’t had time to make an assessment yet.”
The Fair Housing Office investigates complaints under the ordinance before turning them over to the City Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution. Each violation of the ordinance is punishable by a $500 fine.
Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Morning News, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.