Idaho Statesman publisher explains why a front page anti-gay sticker ad was accepted

Idaho lawmakers this week debated what’s been called the Add the Words bill, a proposal to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state’s Human Rights Act.

On Wednesday, the Idaho Statesman ran an anti-gay front-page sticker advertisement that said, “Add No Words/Stand up to bullying.” The ad included the URL to a website with a post claiming that “the essential nature of homosexuality, ‘transgenderism,’ and other forms of sexual deviancy is, ultimately a form of rape.”

After getting complaints, the Statesman ran this note from publisher Mike Jung:

It’s unfortunate the advertising Post It note that appeared on the front page of the Statesman has created hurt and anger among some readers. That was not the intent.
We welcome and encourage open discussion and dialogue among many topics, including the legislation to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people, commonly referred to as Add the Words. In fact, if a company or individual wanted to communicate they were in favor of the legislation, we would have accepted their paid advertising. Our position is clear on the bill as we strongly support its passing.

Regarding the paper accepting the ad, we provide a platform for both sides of every issue. I would have accepted the same Post-It note if it had read, “Add the Words, Stop the Bullying.” We offer the same advertising opportunities regardless of the opinion shared within the advertisement. That said, we reserve the right to refuse advertisements that include slanderous or defaming statements. Wednesday’s ad was marked as “Paid for by Lance Wells.”

On Thursday morning, a House committee voted 13-4 to reject adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

* “Add No Words” ad on front page causes stir (
* Publisher explains why an anti-gay sticker ad was accepted (
* Idaho House committee rejects Add the Words bill (