TV station bans advert about gay veteran who wants to marry his partner

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A TV station in the state of Tennessee has refused to show an advert – because it features a Navy veteran who remains banned from marrying his partner.

The Freedom to Marry ad features Dr Jesse Ehrenfeld – a Republican soldier who wants to marry his partner, having just returned from working in a trauma hospital in Afghanistan.

However, although the ad tells the real story of Dr Ehrenfeld and his partner, Tennessee station WRCB decided that it was inappropriate.

The station blocked the ad, with manager Tom Tolar telling Buzzfeed: “It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate.

“People probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people.”

Dr Ehrenfeld told the website: “I respect that they have to manage their TV station as they see fit, but it seems they just created this policy out of thin air when presented with this ad.

“I just got back in April from my tour in Afghanistan, where I put my life on the line to fight for our freedom.

“I believe so strongly in the right to our freedom, and I was disappointed that this is the position of the TV station, that they are not interested in engaging in an important discussion about those freedoms today.

“Perhaps they are afraid of running afoul of their audience, but for us, that’s why it’s important to share this ad with as many people as possible — so they can understand the impact of the marriage debate on people like Judd and myself, that we cannot share in all the rights marriage offers and are made to feel like we are second-class citizens. And that is not right in any shape or form.”

Tennessee is one of just 13 states that maintains a ban on same-sex couples marrying.