(KCPW News) An advertisement promoting a memorial service for gay Mormons who have committed suicide or are struggling with their faith and sexuality was refused by the Deseret News. Peter Danzig with the Committee for Reconciliation, the group organizing the memorial service, says the decision was surprising and disappointing.
“I think it is unfortunate because I think our event would be beneficial for people, and there will be people who maybe don’t hear about it because of a decision to censor the ad,” he told KCPW.
The Committee for Reconciliation paid for the ad to be printed in both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune. An advertising representative for MediaOne, which handles ad sales for both papers, apologized for the decision, noting the Deseret News is owned by the LDS Church. The committee then asked MediaOne to refund the fee and not run the ad at all.
Danzig says the paper’s refusal of the ad is concerning, as it comes on the heels of controversial statements by a church leader, Elder Bruce Hafen. Hafen recently said being gay is “not in your DNA,” and encouraged gay church members to seek treatment.
“What I’m worried about with this recent censorship is that maybe that’s a stance they’re taking, they want to cut people off from the people who could support them, who maybe don’t have an agenda for them, but maybe have their own personal ideas that differ from the stance that some church leaders take,” he said.
Danzig says he doesn’t see anything in the ad that’s offensive, adding that the lineup for the event includes active church members. The memorial service is being held while the church’s General Conference is in session.