Gay Texarkana couple claims discrimination in wedding announcement denial

Published: Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jan. 18, 2014 at 12:16 AM CST
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TEXARKANA, TX (AP/KSLA) - A Texarkana couple is upset that the local newspaper will not run their photo and wedding announcement.

"They refused us because we are a gay couple," says Michelle Cooks. "And if the Pentagon has recognized, you know, giving same sex couples benefits," continues her partner Patricia Wrightner, "At least, I think we could..." "...put our picture in the paper," finishes Cook. They often finish each other's sentences.

Wrightner and Cooks say they've been together for over a year and plan to travel to Mexico later this month to marry.

When they went to the Texarkana Gazette to have an announcement printed in the paper, they say were turned away. They call it discrimination.

"We were discriminated against," Cook says."There's no other reason not to have our picture in the paper."

A spokesperson for the Texarkana Gazette says it's a matter of policy.

"The Texarkana Gazette publishes wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements related to marriages or impending marriages that are recognized by states in which it circulates," says a statement from Editor Les Minor in response to an inquiry from KSLA News 12 on Wednesday. "This policy have been in place for several years. Neither Texas nor Arkansas allows same-sex marriages or recognize same sex marriages from other states. If those laws change, this newspaper will re-examine its policy."

"We live in Texarkana," says Cook. "It is our Texarkana Gazette and we felt we had a right just like everyone else to announce our wedding."

The couple says they are not going to let the paper's policy or state laws stop their marriage.

"This isn't really just about Texas. It's simply about us in our hometown wanting to announce our wedding."

They're turning to Facebook to spread the word about their pending nuptials, set for September 13th.