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Newspaper removes gay man’s husband from his mother’s obituary

The newspaper omitted Barry Giles' husband from the obituary for 'religious reasons'

By Fabio Crispim

A newspaper has come under fire for removing all references to a gay man’s husband in his obituary to his mother. 

Texas resident Barry Giles and John Gambill have been together for 31 years. The couple often went on holiday with Giles’ mother, Brenda Light, and cared for her until she died at the age of 77 last month.

Following her death, Giles submitted an obituary for his mother to the Olton Enterprise newspaper. It read: “Those left to cherish her memories include her son, Barry Giles, and his husband, John Gambill, of Dallas.” 

The obituary was published in full in other publications, but the Olton Enterprise decided to edit out Gambill’s name completely, Fox10 reports. 

Speaking to Fox10, Giles said: “It wiped John completely off the picture like he didn’t exist.

“We’re human beings like anyone else. We have feelings. We have relationships, whether [the publisher] agrees with them or not.” 

The couple then contacted the newspaper’s owner and editor, Phillip Hamilton, to find out what happened, only to be told Hamilton cut Gambill’s name for religious reasons.

In a statement to Fox10, Hamilton said: “It’s my religious conviction that a male cannot have a husband. It is also my belief that to publish anything contrary to God’s Word on this issue would be to publish something in the newspaper that is not true.” 

Hamilton also claimed that the edit of the obituary was “ethical and lawful”.

He said: “It would be unethical to publish a news item that is known by the editor to be false. Based on the truth found in the Word of God, I could not in good conscience identify Mr Gambill as the husband of Mr Giles.” 

The Olton Enterprise’s Facebook page has since been filled with negative reviews.