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Obit policy flap

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The Center for Artistic Revolution, a gay rights organization, has mobilized a protest over an obituary policy in the Batesville Guard that omitted a gay man from the list of his partner's survivors. The newspaper's policy is that free obits will not include "common-law spouses, in-laws or significant others whether straight or gay," owner-manager Pat Jones said Tuesday. She said the editor, Angelia Roberts, had a significant other and he, too, would be left out.

However, paid obits are different; survivors may write them as they wish, as long as they are of a reasonable length. A paid obit is $85 in the Guard.

Oscar Jones, Pat Jones' son, said the policy was more about length than morals, but he said the paper probably needed to review it. Jones, a lawyer, said he was a strong advocate for gay rights, and was co-counsel for plaintiffs in the successful lawsuit that overturned Act 1, the law that would have prohibited gay couples from fostering or adopting children.

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