Organizers of a gay pride event in Minneapolis on Tuesday filed a discrimination complaint against the Star Tribune newspaper after it refused to run an ad for their June 2005 event that shows two men kissing, reports the online edition of Editor and Publisher. GLBT Pride/Twin Cities filed the complaint with the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights.
The gay pride group said in a statement that it had been unable to resolve the issue with the newspaper's management and that it had "no choice but to file a discrimination complaint...to force the business and policymakers at the Star Tribune to account for its actions," the Star Tribune reported. "We stand by our decision not to run the ad as submitted, and we disagree with GLBT on the appropriateness of the ad," Star Tribune spokesman Ben Taylor said. "We are disappointed that GLBT would take this action after we have partnered with them, sponsored their events, and supported their core principles for many years."
At a news conference, GLBT Pride officials distributed copies of a letter from Stephen J. Burns, an attorney for the McClatchy Co., the corporate owner of the Star Tribune, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In the letter Burns states, "Star Tribune's policy is not to show kissing in advertisements, heterosexual or otherwise." To counter that claim, GLBT Pride officials displayed copies of movie advertisements in the Star Tribune showing men and women kissing, plus an ad published on December 5 that showed a woman kissing a man who was holding keys to a BMW over her head.
After the complaint is drafted and signed, a copy will be sent to the newspaper, probably next week, Minneapolis Civil Rights director Jayne Baccus Khalifa told the Star Tribune. The newspaper then has a chance to answer, and GLBT Pride can rebut. Then the agency investigation begins. There is no time frame for completion, and the entire process for such complaints takes an average of two years, she said.