Back in 2015 a local Texas newspaper, The Olton Enterprise run by Phillip Hamilton and his wife Ursula, was named Business of the Year by the Olton Chamber of Commerce.
It was reported at the time that the newspaper:
Has served the community since Feb. 19, 1926. Through the years it has chronicled the best and worst times in the community, and recorded the weddings, births, deaths, tragedies and everything in between.
Well, the paper is back in the news – and not in a good way, because of the disgraceful way in which Hamilton censored the obituary of the mother of a gay man.
According to this report, Barry Giles and John Gambill, who have been together for 31 years, say Hamilton scrubbed references to Gambill after Giles’ mom died. The couple had included both their names in the obituary they sent to Giles’ hometown paper, writing:
Those left to cherish her memory include her son, Barry Giles and his husband, John Gambill of Dallas.
The decision left the couple distraught. 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 he agrees with them or not.
She’s like my second mom, you know.
In a statement, Hamilton defended his decision to leave out Gambill’s name and relationship to Giles.
According to this report, Giles’ mother, Brenda Light, died on February 14.
It is 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.
The newspaper’s decision to edit the obituary is both ethical and lawful. 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.
Gambill said he and his husband and mother-in-law traveled to Australia and New Zealand and sailed the Mediterranean together. In recent years, he said, his mother-in-law couldn’t bend down very well, so he’d run over to her house and scoop the litter box and plant flowers in the yard for her.
We spent holidays together. We did what a family would do.
Gambill is a funeral director and said one way to get fired quickly is to leave a loved one off of an obituary. He said:
That’s a big no-no.
So he called Hamilton and asked if he had received the full obituary. Hamilton said yes. Gambill then asked:
Why was my name cut out?
Because I wanted to cut it out.
An article about Hamilton in the Southern Baptist Texan said the homophobic Hamilton was raised at First Baptist Church in Dallas and, in addition to owning the newspaper, he is the preacher at Bethel Baptist Church in Plainview, about 25 miles east of Olton.
• You can express your anger on the paper’s Facebook page. I just did.