Scroll To Top

School paper
rejects gay bookstore ad

School paper
rejects gay bookstore ad

Officials at a high school in Indiana have refused to publish an ad for a local gay bookstore in the school's newspaper

To give something back to the many gay and lesbian youths who frequented their bookstore in Mishawaka, Ind., lesbian couple Robin Beck and Patty Henges decided to start a queer youth support group. But officials at nearby Mishawaka High School weren't ready for their students to hear about it.

When the couple, who were married in Canada in 2003, tried to take out an ad for their Another Book Store, which included information about the support group, in the school's paper, they claim officials told them they did not want to "expose our teens to your type of establishment," according to the South Bend Tribune.

Beck and Henges opened the coffee shop and bookstore in Mishawaka last year to serve the region's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. They decided this fall to advertise their shop in the Mishawaka High School Alltold, the student newspaper. They gave a copy of their business card and a $25 check to a store regular who is on the newspaper staff. A few weeks later Henges received a call from newspaper adviser Jeff Halicki telling her the ad wouldn't appear in the publication after all. "They need to open their minds up," Beck told the Tribune. "They need to realize they have gays and lesbians at their schools they need to support."

Some students expressed dismay at the rejection, but Mishawaka senior Jessica Payne said she wasn't surprised. "There are gay kids here, but I guess the administration doesn't want to talk about it," Payne told the Tribune.

The school's action could be a violation of the First Amendment, said Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va. "They have to present some legal justification," Goodman told the Tribune. "If the student [or advertiser] could show that this was in fact an attempt to silence this viewpoint, then that may very well be impermissible under the First Amendment." School newspaper editors may decide not to run an ad based on content, but court decisions suggest that school officials may not be able to censor ads, Goodman said. (

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff