Sunday, June 18, 2006

Community Property - Not! reports a spat between the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Star Tribune and the organizers of the local Pride Parade that is going to the courts. Seems the paper reneged on publishing some ads when an included photo showed two men kissing.
On Friday Pride filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court. Papers filed with the court say that the Star Tribune applied different standards for heterosexual-based advertising than for ads from the gay community. The suit said that the company had in the past accepted ads of opposite-sex couples kissing.
I have two simple observations. First: the paper is not community property. The owners of the paper can chose what they print and don't. They have no legal obligation to set common standards for photographs of hetersexuals kissing, and of gays. Discriminatory policies may raise some question about their qualities as vendors of advertising and purveyors of journalism, but these are not matters for a court of law to decide. The marketplace can sort this out.

If, however, the paper agreed to print the ads, i.e., entered into a contract, then they should be obligated to print them. It sounds as if the Pride committee offered some alternatives, in the spirit of compromise. One has to wonder if there is more to the story, when the paper refused to publish the substitute ads. I might speculate that one level of management agreed to print the ads, then after-the-fact a higher level found out and nixed them. If this is the case, they deserve to get whipped in court.