No Longer Out: Kroger to allow GLBT newspaper back in some area stores

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 2:28am

After a month of ire from Nashville’s gay and allied community, copies of Out & About Newspaper will soon be back on the racks of eight area Kroger stores, officials said today.

The select stores are located in ZIP code areas that have 300 or more subscribers to Out & About. A start date for distribution has not been set. The newspaper’s previous contract for distribution at Kroger included all 34 stores in the area, in addition to three Harris Teeter locations.

“Nashville is a diverse city, similar to Atlanta, Dallas and other major metropolitan areas,” said Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs, in a statement today. “Having free special interest publications, for example for seniors, families with young children or the GLBT community, is a way of serving local interests.”

Jerry Jones, publisher of Out and About, said Monday he was pleased with Kroger’s decision. He said he would have preferred, from the beginning, to pay to distribute papers at the stores with the highest levels of readership.

“Our contract with DistribuTech required us to purchase stores by the district instead of being able to choose the stores we felt would have the highest pickup rate,” Jones said. “We’re extremely pleased.”

The trouble started last month, shortly after a contract was signed for Out and About — a monthly newspaper serving the gay community — to rent distribution space at the free news racks of area Kroger and Harris Teeter stores. Out and About readers noticed that the newspapers had been pulled from the racks.

In mid-June, Out and About publisher Jerry Jones said he was told by representatives of DistribuTech, the company that leases free news rack space at Kroger and Harris Teeter, that the contract was ending. O&A had signed on to pay DistribuTech almost $1,800 monthly for space at the Kroger, Jones said. DistribuTech is a national chain based in Atlanta.

DistribuTech has drawn fire for the move, but said it was following the wishes of the Kroger and Harris Teeter chains. At the time, Kroger said in a statement that it doesn’t distribute publications that “promote political, religious, or other specific agendas.”

Nicole Bigley, a spokesperson for DistribuTech, said Monday that her company had not completed its internal review process of the publication before it was officially placed on racks at Kroger and Harris Teeter. A Kroger statement said the papers were pulled “until the agreed-upon steps were followed.”

The issue has drawn the attention of national media, as well as organizations including the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Human Rights Campaign. Local groups involved include the Tennessee Equality Project, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, PFLAG Nashville, Nashville Pride and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

Last week, local leaders of the gay and allied community concluded a “receipt-saving” campaign, in which supporters generated more than $15,000 of business for grocery stores other than Kroger and Harris Teeter over the course of one week.

Christopher Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), said Monday that attention is now focused on local Harris Teeter stores. According to Out and About, the newspaper had maintained an outdoor box at the Harris Teeter store in Hillsboro Village for the last three years. That box was removed at the request of DistribuTech so the newspaper could pay rental fees to go in the free publication rack inside the store. The publication has not been allowed back in the store in the free publication rack or the outdoor box.

Though a statement from Harris Teeter echoes earlier statements from Kroger in citing a policy of not distributing free publications “promoting or distributing information of religious, political or other specific agendas,” a spokesperson for the company said Monday that members of senior management will likely meet next week to discuss Out and About

“Hopefully we’ll have a resolution at the end of next week,” said spokesperson Jennifer Panetta, who is based at Harris Teeter’s North Carolina corporate headquarters.

Sanders said he was pleased with the decision. The TEP headed a coalition of organizations including the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, PFLAG Nashville, Nashville Pride and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, as well as national groups.

“It makes sense to distribute it where it fits the community,” Sanders said. “This is based on business and economics, which is why it’s not discrimination. We have a thriving, growing GLBT community in Nashville, and Kroger serves some of those constituents.”

Filed under: City Business
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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hope this is the last story on this subject and that the readers are happy they got something out of it.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hope this is just one of a series of stories on the subject so that more folks in the River CIty can have a better understanding of the real issues involved. Them that's got any capability for understanding, don't 'cha know. Bless their hearts.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What a shame, Kroger.

By: kevduane on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It isn't about who is right or whatever...it is about tolerance and understanding. The U.S. was founded on tolerance and understanding. I do agree I hope this is the last story on this subject...i hope that people will understand there are people out there who think differently than they do...and just because that particular group may want the same rights and responsibilites doesn't mean there is an "agenda". But I know this is a concept that many will have a hard time grasping because of religous issues or what have you...but I hope we can now all just get on with our lives.

By: wilsonpd64 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm disgusted that Kroger folded to the special interests of a group with no special protection or need of it. I don't want to see that kind of publication on my way through a store, so I'll be voting with my purchasing power by going somewhere else.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"...National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Human Rights Campaign. Local groups involved include the Tennessee Equality Project, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, PFLAG Nashville, Nashville Pride and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition." But, there is NO agenda.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Kroger found some middle ground, which means that the bad publicity was more than they wanted, and that their notions of "family values" are obsolete. Family values include tolerance, open-mindedness, and recognition of families other than the Cleavers (c. 1957). One of the strengths of America is its diversity. OUT & ABOUT celebrates diversity. I hope that my neighborhood Kroger is one of the chosen ones.

By: sldavids on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I say good for Kroger! It shows an image that they are commited to the diversity of their customers, and they care about this commitment. For those people who are just outraged that Kroger has made such a decision, shop somewhere else! We are consumers, and we have a right to shop where we want. Sames goes for all of you. If you find this so offensive, go somewhere else. No, seriously...shop somewhere else. There are plenty of other stores in your area that would be willing to take your money. In addition, you are contradicting your views and opinions. We are quick to buy a copy of "Cosmo" or a "National Enquirer

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Close your eyes and ears, Id, and maybe you can pretend there are no gays and lesbians in our community. That seems to be what you're wishing for. That seems to have been the goal of those who persuaded Kroger to remove this newspaper in the first place. Or at a minimum to deny them any visibility or validity. I still don't see how having this newspaper in Kroger is hurting anyone. No one is forcing anyone to pick it up and read it. But I guess there are those who still harbor this delusion that gays are out to "recruit" their kids and this newspaper is a vehicle to do that. ((Sigh))

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wilson, your constitutional rights do not include the right never to be offended. Could you imagine what a chaotic mess this nation's laws would be if we had to defer to the most tender sensibilities of every person claiming offense? Try being a grown up and walking past it, try not to glance down. Maybe one day someone will open a grocery store that caters exclusively to the Bible belt and you can then shop there. Your only worry then will be seeing a free newspaper from a denomination you don't consider sufficiently orthodox. Oh, well...

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Most people were supporting Kroger's right to follow their own policy of not distributing free publications “promoting or distributing information of religious, political or other specific agendas". I guess the next step is for religious material to be made available, even if it does not approve of gays. I'm sure the gay community would tolerate (and accept) opposing views, wouldn't they?

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You seem to be cynical Dragon, but I'd call you on that bet. I don't believe the gay community would call for religious periodicals to be removed. I can't say vice versa is equally true. This is why I come down on the side of the gay community in this controversy. The religious right always repeats this mantra that there is a "gay agenda". The only agenda I see the GLBT community promoting is to be treated as human beings and to be live their lives unbothered by those who would hassle them. Many people, because their religious upbringing, believe it is not only right, but proper, to harass, belittle, and marginalize gay people. If anyone has an agenda, it's the religious right more than the gays.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 6:00

global_citizen, you're right on about my cynicism. I think the gay community would howl about "hate speech" in the form of religious material at the front door of Kroger. BTW, I seem to sense differing views of what the gay community wants. Some say tolerance, others say acceptance. If you include the issues of gay marriage with government "benefits

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dragon, you can't see the point because you're too busy trying to beat down a group of people. Even after they pulled this paper, THEY WERE STILL carrying papers that were “promoting or distributing information of religious, political or other specific agendas". Get it? That was the problem. It's not that hard to grasp. Come on, you can do it. I could care less if they put a paper out for Bible-thumping freaks. I'd just walk on by it, use it to line my bird cage or to wipe my ass. You can do the same with Out and About. Damn, get over it!

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

One more thing, please don't start with the quotes from Leviticus again! I'm soooo over that.

By: wilsonpd64 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Citizen, You are right, my rights don't inlucde the right never to be affended... niether does yours. But from the tone your reply took, I would say that my opinion did offend you. It didn't take much to draw some vitrol out of you. Personally, I love GLBT people, as I do all people...I just don't agree with thier lifestyle and life decisions.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wilson, you've succintly hit the nail on the head..."I just don't agree with thier lifestyle and life decisions."There's no reason to for the GLBT's to push their agenda; as they say, you're either 'that way' or your aren't, and you can't 'catch it' from them. The only thing you have to 'catch' is their loud, proud, in-your-face attitude.And, since they usually don't pass along their genes, they should be a dwindling minority. Or so we should hope."¶" for old time's sake... ;D

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00
By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

HTML tags still don't work, no links allowed in the comments.But they do work in the blog areas, the 'Political Animals' section.I guess I'll have to stay over there, where the grownups are trusted with tags...http://tinyurl.com/3yjy4e

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

serr8d, I totally agree with you. There's no reason for groups "to push their agenda; as they say, you're either "that way" or you aren't and you can't "catch it" from them. Then only thing that you have to "catch" is their loud, proud, in-you-face attitude." I can only hope that your comments go for Baptists too... we sure could use a pogrom here.

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wilson, you have an over active imagination. My reaction to your post was more disappointment than offense. There was no vitriol in my statements, just observation based on experience. And it's funny how your last response is so typical of people who say they have nothing against gay people but simply disapprove of "their lifestyle". What you call their "lifestyle" is simply their life, and calling it a "lifestyle" is a not so subtle way of marginalizing them. Some people seem to harbor this silly notion (no doubt repeated often in their churches) that gay people are simply acting out or rebelling against normal society. As long as people credulously accept that fiction, gay people will have to work toward better visibility and acceptance.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

wadda say we have a do over on the gay marrage issue?

By: tennliberal on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Good for Kroger. And anyone who doesn't want to read this newspaper doesn't have to pick it up.Have any of your right wing homophobes ever looked at an "Out and About"? It is pretty much formatted as a regular newspaper, just with a focus on a certain audience.

By: Photo8069 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It isn't a lifestyle, it's a perversion. Most families don't want their children confused by society seeming to approve of something they know to be wrong. And I'm sorry to see Kroger not supporting their family clientele, who are responsible for much more than the GLBT demonstrated $15,000.God made humans male and female, and I'm encouraged He gave one of them a womb in which to continue His creativity. Anything outside of that is man's imagination, and not of God.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well said, Photo8069.

By: wilsonpd64 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just an observation- if an homosexual says they were born with tendencies that they have no choice over, they call it a life, a lifestyle, an "orientation

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The hard copy of the NCP shows which stores will carry 'Out and About'. That list may be here somewhere too for those of you on either side of the issue that were interested. For me it's a non-issue. I doubt copies of the paper feature full-color posters of six foot drag queens on the cover and the 'Scene' probably has more offensive cover art at times. If someone doesn't want to read the paper, as I don't, just ignore it.

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Photo, you say you homosexuality is something you "know to be wrong". Tell me please, what makes it wrong? Murder, rape, robbery... I think anyone can objectively say is wrong. It harms another. What is inherently wrong about two people of the same sex in a romantic relationship? Please answer. And Wilson, tell me how it's not normal if it's been with society for as long as anyone knows and always will be. You read a book that says it's wrong and that settles it for you. Well this book also would have us believe in talking donkeys and a giant red dragon that sweeps stars from the sky and flings them to earth. Think about it. Let that sink in.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

By: global_citizen on 7/3/07 What is inherently wrong about two people of the same sex in a romantic relationship? You tell us. You are the one that needs to justify your LS and have it accepted by others. No one else seems to have that need.

By: Photo8069 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

global_citizen, you've posted five times on this issue, so obviously you're having a great time. But this issue is about more than you being able to debate someone down. I'm aware there is a movement to say that we cannot know the truth, that truth is unknowable. Oh, but the truth is knowable. You've been told the truth, regardless of what you claim. As they say in Texas, you can put your boots in the oven, but that don't make them biscuits. Out.

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Doesn't anyone like my idea of a pogrom of the Baptists? I feel so left out of this drama.

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well, I didn't hear anything from you just now, Photo, that even remotely answers the question, which affirms to me my suspicion that you and your kind simply aren't able to answer the question. You have your prejudice, the Bible justifies it, and that's all there is to say. That's a pretty weak, and unacceptable, answer.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Global, if one believes in God, then they believe in the Bible. It is obvious you believe there is no God. That would explain your view, when you have nothing to believe in, you have nothing to base your opinion on. You keep bringing up the dragon, yes I belive that did happen. I have never seen a dinosaur, but I believe they existed. And didn't some of them fly also. If there is no God, how do you think this world came into existance? Just because you can't see him, doesn't mean he does not exist.

By: T.R.H. on 12/31/69 at 6:00

8069 thats al-a-bama not texas... and its opossum not boots....but who cares...lots of gay-a-tie out there today...with there feelings on thier shoulders.... my guess, you hit a nerve...!!!

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Titan, you're mistaken. Why do you say I have nothing to believe in? There is lots I believe in, just not this story of Santa Claus for grown ups. Really, you believe Balaam had a conversation with a donkey? You believe that to be literally true? You believe a giant red dragon swung his tail and swept one third of the stars in the sky crashing to earth? You believe that literally happened? We have fossil records of dinosaurs, so that's a completely invalid comparison. Not even in the same neighborhood. Where do we have any evidence for so many of the strange things one has to believe if you believe the Bible literally? Do you know how many stars are in the sky? Do you believe some giant cosmic dragon can sweep stars from the sky with one swipe of his tail and make them land on earth? Wouldn't that pretty much destroy the earth?Questions of how the world came into existence are definitely beyond the scope of this discussion, but considering that there are only 99 elements that make up all of matter in the known cosmos, then factoring in that there are likely 10 billion solar systems in our galaxy multiplied by the likely 30 billion galaxies in the entire universe, even given astronomical odds of a quadrillion (one thousand trillion) to one, mathematically there are likely to be 300,000 planets that can sustain life such as earth. I'll place my bet with that rather than believing in some unseen mysterious all-knowing all-powerful creator. But since we're on such lofty questions, won't you please tell me who created God (since everything created needs a creator). I eagerly await your answer.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

By: global_citizen on 7/3/07 I'll place my bet with that rather than believing in some unseen mysterious all-knowing all-powerful creator. But since we're on such lofty questions, won't you please tell me who created God (since everything created needs a creator). I eagerly await your answer. Just like a lefty. He wants others to accept him for who he is but can't accept the beliefs of others (the majority)He don't even see his hypocracy/affliction.

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Id, you have a way of consistently seeing things as they are not rather than as they are. For one, I tend to be more conservative than liberal, but I understand it's easy to dismiss people when you label them with convenient boogeyman labels. Secondly, I'm perfectly willing to accept anyone as a person warts and all (unlike you apparently). But if they expect me to believe their beliefs, they're going to have to convince me. And when it comes to believing in God, I'll say just what Bertrand Russell said if after he dies he actually does stand before God and God asks why he didn't believe: "Not enough evidence, God. Not enough evidence".The Bible admonishes that we should have child-like faith. I'm glad to see you're doing your best, Id.

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh, and Id, when you say the beliefs of "the majority

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Love thy neighbor as thyself

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why so many christians bring up God while they condemn people is bizarre to me. The Bible is about love, but many christians are too busy condemning and judging. As a fellow christian, this is very sad to me.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Not judging anyone, God does that.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I posted the scriptures last week that showed what God said, it wasn't my opinion, it was his word.

By: andrew1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Tolerance has to do with who you are, not with choices you make, especially if they are rooted in perversity. There has NEVER been a reputable study done that links homosexual behavior and genetics or pre-birth conditions. In fact, every major, reputable study done on the issue has found there is no link. The latest major study, the one done by the University of Chicago, saw the main researcher say...."There is no gay gene." I agree that no one should be discriminated against but instead of helping people continue in a lifestyle with a much higher indidence of disease, suicide, etc. why don't we help them get free from the trap of homosexuality like many of my friends have.

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OK, It's LEARN ENGLISH GRAMMAR TIME with ARDILLICPHOS! Let's go over the grades for today! IDGAF, you get a D+. You attempt to express higher-order thought, but you are incapable of using both a subject and a verb in the same sentence. Also your subject/verb agreement is hideous (for example, "he don't"). One more thing, punctuation is mostly mandatory amongst the educated. Next TRH! Amazing! I've never seen more periods used successively in one sentence, or wait........... is it a sentence? Your jibberish is void of capitalization, yet again. You and IDGAF get to wear the dunce cap today! Other outstanding errors that will cause me to fail you in the English language: it's (it is) versus its (possessive). I don't know to whom said oppossum belongs. Can you please clarify? I also realize that spelling is NOT your forte, but gay-a-tie sounds like something you would do with something that you wear around your neck! Oh you little devil, TRH! Who would have known that you have those proclivities! I'll translate-- it means you get horny with your clothing. Finally, TRH, I've never seen the word "their" so misspelled and so misused in such a short amount of space! Congratulations! Please write the following sentence 500 times: There are many gays in Nashville and they got their way. This should help. I'm sorry, TRH, but you fail. But, if it makes you feel better, I've never seen so much "bad English" in one supposed sentence! You go, girl! TITAN1, you get an A-. Your only issue is ending a sentence with a preposition. Please write this sentence 500 times to raise your grade: My supposed Christian beliefs have no basis on which to stand. OK kids, school starts again in just a few weeks! Practice makes perfect!

By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Again, I have to ask, what makes homosexuality wrong? Andrew you argue as if the point is self-evident. It is not. I'm willing to believe there maybe some reason homosexuality is wrong, but I've yet to hear it. You call it "perverse". What makes it perverse?I don't care if it's genetic or not. I don't care if it's a choice or not. As for disease, let's not be so smug and disingenuous. Two thirds of Americans are overweight and that will directly lead to a shortened life. Hundreds of thousands a year drink or smoke themselves to death. Let's not pretend that this issue is rooted in concern about disease. That's a pretext. It's about the determination of those who have a religious objection to homosexuality to never permit homosexuality to be seen as the normal state of being that it is for many people, nor to admit that for the most part it is innocuous.And I applaud your concern about gays committing suicide. The incidence is far too high. Won't you commit to reducing the harassment, humiliation, and ostracization that contributes to many of those suicides?

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

and Andrew, the Bible says it's easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to heaven. Where is your outrage about rich people (perhaps the rich people who own Kroger)? Where is your "love" to save all the rich people from their fate of eternal damnation? Why is it that the gay thing that gets so many christians?And Titan, please remember all the Bible passages about worship of money, fitting the camel through the eye of the needle, etc... while you idolize the rich Titans players, whom, as the Bible says, are going to hell. so many christians pick and choose whatever Bible verses for their fearful versions of life, all the while ignoring other passsages that just don't fit so well into their dreams and desires (ie, wealth).you folks are absolutely clueless. I say this with love in my heart...LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OK, it's time to discredit Andrew1! According to the National Institute of Mental Health, which I would assume knows more than the Three Rivers Baptist Church on the subject: "With regard to completed suicide, there are no national statistics for suicide rates among gay, lesbian or bisexual (GLB) persons. Sexual orientation is not a question on the death certificate, and to determine whether rates are higher for GLB persons, we would need to know the proportion of the U.S. population that considers themselves gay, lesbian or bisexual. Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that people can, and often do choose to hide, so that in psychological autopsy studies of suicide victims where risk factors are examined, it is difficult to know for certain the victim?s sexual orientation. This is particularly a problem when considering GLB youth who may be less certain of their sexual orientation and less open. In the few studies examining risk factors for suicide where sexual orientation was assessed, the risk for gay or lesbian persons did not appear any greater than among heterosexuals, once mental and substance abuse disorders were taken into account." Beeeeeeeeeeeep! You're wrong. Next?

By: ardillicphos on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh, sorry! Seeing that we love to make these broad-sweeping generalizations without ANY proof, I submit my source:http://www.nimh.nih.gov/suicideprevention/suicidefaq.cfm

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ycartrob, just because I am a fan of a football team, does not mean I idolize them . As for other sins, I am nowhere near perfect, I pray for forgiveness everyday. God loves the sinner but hates the sin. If someone sins, but asks for forgiveness, then he is forgiven, but if he does not change his ways and dies before he does, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Same goes for homosexuals or any sin, according to the Bible.

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

titan, you really think Jesus would embrace the million dollar salaries of Titans players, the 6 dollar beers and 5 dollar hot dogs at the stadium, the cheerleaders shaking it on the sidelines? While poor children in this nation go without health care, would Jesus be kicking it in Section 313, Row R, spending $100's of dollars on entertainment? What Would Jesus Do? If I had to guess, your answer would be to take on a second job and upgrade his PSL to Sec 112, Row G, and whine and moan about how Kroger bowed to them gay sinners.Continue to point out scripture in the old testament (that's up for debate) about those un-holy gay folks. You're living under the delusion that Christ awaits you in heaven to put his arm around you, appreciatin' how you "put up the good fight" against sin, and then talking about who the Titans should choose in the 2nd round this year...Clueless, I say.