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Company refuses to print student magazine, cites religious beliefs

(Image: JagMedia) Due South.jpg
(Image: JagMedia) Due South.jpg

JagMedia published an article Thursday, explaining their magazine, Due South, was denied publication by Interstate Printing on religious beliefs.

The student editor received an email from Tracey Smith saying the issue did not mesh with their religious beliefs.

The issue is advertised as a diversity issue.

We went to the company for an explanation.

We rang the bell...

We knocked...

And we called...

Minutes later, Tracey Smith with Interstate Printing emerged from their office building.

"And you find it necessary to be here because?" Smith asked.

We came to ask about an email, sent yesterday, just one week from student-run magazine Due South's printing deadline.

In it, Smith tells Due South editor Sara Boone that they "respectfully decline" to print the issue.- A $5,000 job.

She writes they are a "Christian company that does not adhere to the content."

The cover, which shows multiple people, including a drag queen and a Muslim woman.

Boone explains the issue encompasses all students.

"This is Due South's very first special topics issue and it's on diversity and inclusion," Boone said.

The magazine is in its 9th year.

"We have stories about body positivity, students with disabilities, religious diversity, but we also have stories on LGBTQ life and drag queens, so I think that's the aspects that triggered the company," Boone said.

Smith wouldn't give specifics.

"It is our first amendment right to say no when it is against our sincerely-held religious beliefs," Smith told NBC 15.

Boone said she understands, but feels it wasn't the right decision.

"We had a longstanding relationship with that company, so I thought that meant something."

USA issued a statement:

The University of South Alabama is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and the exchange of different points of view. We respect our students for having the courage of their convictions. At the same time, we also respect the rights of individuals and private businesses to make decisions that are consistent with their values. It is our hope that healthy and constructive dialogue can emerge from differing perspectives.

And Rainbow Mobile did as well.

We are saddened to hear that Interstate Printing is refusing to print the latest edition of a student-run magazine due to its LGBTQ content. Being inclusive and accepting of all marginalized communities makes for a more united city and society. The LGBTQ+ community can be found in all walks of life. We’ve reached out to Interstate Printing to see if they’d like to meet and talk about how businesses that serve all clients, no matter their beliefs, can be beneficial both to themselves and our wonderful city of Mobile

said a spokesperson for Rainbow Mobile.