Summary: A pastor from Vermont was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to marry a gay couple.
Originated from: NBC.com.co
Date(s) active: July 2015
Rumours are spreading virally across social media that a pastor from Vermont has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after refusing to wed a gay couple. The rumours trace back to an article on NBC.com.co that reads in part –
Proctor, VT — A pastor at the Christian Proctor Church in Vermont, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after refusing to marry gay couples. This comes shortly after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision ruling that states must allow gay-marriage.
The Christian Pastor, 56-year-old Paul Horner, had his lawyer speak to reporters on his behalf.
The rumours are NOT true. There has been plenty of controversy following the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages across the country, with stories about officials refusing to hand out marriage permits receiving mainstream media coverage.
And it is true that lawsuits have been filed against such rebelling officials (such as an ACLU suit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis) but there have been no cases – at the time of writing – of anyone being arrested or convicted regarding this controversial issue. (UPDATE: Kim Davis from Kentucky has since been arrested for contempt of court for refusing to issue gay marriage licences.)
Of course such a story would receive mainstream media attention, but it has not. In fact the story is the creation of fake news website NBC.com.co. This site is not affiliated with the NBC brand and publishes wholly fake stories. The name in the article – Paul Horner – is a popular pseudonym used by these fake news websites and does not describe a real person.
NBC.com.co is part of a growing number of websites ending in “.co” that attempt to disguise themselves as reputable brands. The list of fake websites doing this includes NYTimes.com.co, washingtonpost.com.co and USAToday.com.co. These are fake news websites and nothing on them should be taken seriously.
Despite most sites having a disclaimer somewhere on the site claiming that the articles they publish are not real, at the time of writing NBC.com.co does not seem to have any.