Gavin Newsom’s triumph

NewsomSame sex marriages will be performed in California beginning on Tuesday. In fact, some will take place tonight. And the media are pretty giddy about it. What’s happening is very important and very historic, so the amount of coverage is proper. Less proper is the complete lack of balance in stories this past week.

Take this piece — please — from the New York Times‘ Tara Parker-Pope:

For insights into healthy marriages, social scientists are looking in an unexpected place.

A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships.

The whole article is about how homosexual couples are better in seemingly every way than heterosexual couples. They divide work more fairly, they fight more fairly, they get less angry. The article is a one-sided bludgeon and it would be laughable if it weren’t, you know, the New York Times. That whole notion of one man and one woman united in marriage for the purpose of procreation really seems quaint now, doesn’t it?

Another New York Times story looks at several same-sex couples who got married in Massachusetts four years ago. Some have divorced, some stayed married, but the story is very positive no matter what. The Associated Press’ Amanda Fehd had nothing but positive words about same-sex marriage in California. The Los Angeles Times had an interesting article about how gay people themselves feel everything from exuberance to hostility about marriage. There was a bit of that latter perspective in the Times story about Massachusetts couples. But while gay people can be opposed to same-sex marriage, other critical voices seem harder to find in mainstream media.

Instead, we have “Lawsuits in defense of gay marriage can backfire, activist groups warn.” Or a really bizarre story on gaydar that cites a report from mid-century by Alfred Kinsey (of all people) that says gay men have larger penises than straight men. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s weekend coverage included, but was not limited to, “California weddings one more step on long road,” “Lesbian pioneer activists see wish fulfilled,” “Same-sex marriage plans around the Bay Area,” “Saying ‘I Do’ all over again,” “‘Is this a good person to marry?’,” “Gay marriage hits home with legal crusaders,” and “Judge sees equal rights for gays, lesbians,” etc. None of these — except the ‘gays make better married couples’ and ‘gay men have larger penises’ stories — are that bad. It’s just that they all reinforce the same rah-rah message.

Particularly for a state that recently had over 60 percent of voters define marriage as an institution for one man and one woman, and had that vote overturned by judges, this coverage is horrific. With this unbelievably uncritical look at same-sex marriage, a column by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross about media manipulation of the event by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is particularly interesting:
newsom2

When then-rookie Mayor Newsom defied state law and set off a national storm by sanctioning same-sex weddings at City Hall four years ago, his chief PR master at the time, Peter Ragone, laid down some do’s and don’ts for how the story was to be staged for the media.

Make it about the people, not politics, Ragone emphasized. Make the weddings as normal-looking as possible. And whenever Newsom went in front of the cameras, Ragone made sure there was a U.S. flag in the background.

Just like four years ago, the story line Newsom and gay activists are pitching this time is about fairness and “couples next door.”

Wow. And that’s exactly how I’d describe every mainstream media outlet’s treatment of the subject. Way to go, mainstream media! If anyone finds any coverage that does anything with this story other than what Gavin Newsom and other activists aim for, please let me know.

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  • Stoo

    I had a look on the Telegraph’s site – out of the quality papers here they’re likely to share Getreligion’s grumbly views on gay marriage. All I found tho is an item telling us that Mr Sulu plans to marry his partner. So, er, good for him.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Several comments spiked.

    Stay on the subject of news coverage, folks.

    And try to at least make an argument for why, under traditional views of the American press, this issue does not deserve accurate coverage of the people on both sides of the issue. You may also want to defend those treating “marriage” as a strictly secular word, which, historically, is not the case.

  • Dale

    Mollie–

    I heard a balanced piece on this subject on NPR this morning. Here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340 The story featured a number of lawsuits in which “gay rights” court decisions being used to harass and intimidate businesses and property owners in New Jersey and New Mexico who won’t kowtow to the demands of homosexual activists. The story features a lesbian couple who were offended because they couldn’t use a Methodist-owned beach pavillion for their marriage (they suffered the great indignity of marrying on a pier instead), and won a civil judgment against the Methodist group. Another case was a New Mexico photographer who lost a lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple because the Christian photographer wouldn’t take their wedding pictures.

    These court decisions are not about protecting a persecuted minority, they’re about a culturally powerful group of people manipulating the courts into imposing their morality on the rest of American society. Very few media outlets are willing to report that part of the story. The basic conclusion was that freedom of religion, though explicit in the Constitution, is being made subordinate to the court-imposed “right” of homosexual behavior. That’s honest reporting.

  • FW Ken

    As noted on a thread below this one, a press that serves as advocate and cheerleader for a particular point of view is a two edged sword. When the cultural tide turns, the wailing will be loud. Moreover, if public opinion changes, and the press moves to someone else’s hip pocket, who will hear the wailing?

    Good for NPR. Stories like this have been coming out of Canada, England, and Sweden for some time, and thank God for the internet, or who would know?

  • FW Ken

    Sorry, I just re-read tmatt’s comment. There really isn’t a need to resort to religion if you wish to argue against same-sex marriage. There are reasonable arguments to be made against what the Irish would call a “registry office wedding” as well as a church wedding. Completely apart from rites and sacraments marriage is a social structure, and can be evaluated on that basis.

  • Michael

    You may also want to defend those treating “marriage” as a strictly secular word, which, historically, is not the case.

    The moment you deny people legal rights based on the denial of access to an institution callled “marriage,” that it was originally created as a non-secular institution is inconsquential. Once you slather a religious institution with thousands of legal, secular rights that are not contingent on a religious blessing, it become secular.

    I second Dale’s mention of the NPR piece. While a few assertions about the extent of the problems went unchallenged and seemed exaggerated, it gave each side plenty of room to talk.

  • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog.html Jason Pitzl-Waters

    Mollie’s recent crusade for journalistic balance, one which has dominated her Get Religion posts in the past month or so has gotten me to thinking about the lenses through which we encounter the news. So Mollie, who seems personally invested in giving a voice to “traditional” marriage (no doubt stemming from her personal religious views), sees a journalistic wasteland of biased cheer-leading coverage. While I see a slow progression in coverage of GLTBT issues in the past twenty years from suspicion and often outright hostility (except from lefty publications), to a fairly recent embracing of these issues as a matter of civil rights.

    If coverage of gay marriage seems biased now to defenders of “tradition”, it is only the result of decades of activism, outreach, and hard-won respect. Starting with Stonewall, through the eight years of total silence on AIDS from Reagan, and culminating in a string of legal and moral victories in the 90s. While conservatives and religious traditionalists opposed to the “homosexual lifestyle” may think that framing the GLBT struggle as the most recent manifestation of the many civil rights struggles (and thus fair game for “biased” reportage) in this country is absurd or an overstatement, those of us who have been “in the trenches” can see it no other way.

    Further, I dare say we would see more “balance” and a plurality of voices on the issue if the religious conservatives who are the most vocal in opposition to the GLBT community hadn’t done such a marvelous job of painting themselves, and by extension all conservative Christians, into the “bigot” corner. The incendiary and often inaccurate rhetoric used to fight for anti-gay ballot measures, and the dull roar of anti-gay sentiment in the conservative religious press, have convinced many, journalists included, that the anti-gay-marriage voices are simply irrationally prejudiced hate-mongers.

    Should good journalists dig deeper and find nuanced voices of opposition? Sure. But those calling for balance here will have to realize that the well has been tainted, and that many of the nuanced voices don’t go seeking the spotlight, while the semi-crazy homophobes slaver after it like a hungry dog to a bone. This ties into the regular Get Religion lament of journalists going to the same old Religious Right voices, even though they have long since lost their standing among the Christian community. Those “same-old” voices, are the very ones who say outrageous things (like gays caused the destruction of New Orleans), and in the minds of journalists covering gay marriage no longer deserve a voice on this issue.

    Finally, while I admire Mollie’s tenacity here, I would like to see a bit more nuance in analyzing this imbalance. Some of the coverage here has gotten very close to “mainstream journalists are anti-Christian meanies who won’t listen to us nuanced anti-gay-marriage voices”. It isn’t so simple. There is a reason for the current imbalance aside from anti-Christian bias, and it should be up to good observers of the press to explore them.

  • Dale

    Jason wrote:

    While I see a slow progression in coverage of GLTBT issues in the past twenty years from suspicion and often outright hostility (except from lefty publications), to a fairly recent embracing of these issues as a matter of civil rights.

    I’ve been around for the last twenty years, Jason, and I don’t see that progression in news reportage. When I attended a public university twenty years ago, faculty and administrators regularly demeaned traditional Christian sexual morality, and the only time that phenomenon was given any mainstream media attention was when it reached the extreme measure of excluding from campus Christian student groups who wouldn’t conform to the “proper” views of sexuality. (Can you imagine that measure being taken against a gay student group on a public university campus in the last twenty years?) At my law school, when a gay student group’s bulletin board was defaced by vandals, the administration made an aggressive investigation and started “diversity” workshops. When my Christian student group’s board was defaced in a similar manner (I was personally attacked with obscene material), the administration ignored it. If anything, that university today is more accepting of Christian student groups who don’t conform to the prevalent view of sexuality than it was twenty years ago. I see no reason why these attitudes would have been any less prevalent in journalism schools than law schools.

    The only change I’ve seen that coincides with what you descibe is in the entertainment media, where juvenile, demeaning stereotypes of gay men and lesbians are no longer acceptable (unless you want to characterize Carlos Mencia as typical). On the other hand, people who object to homosexual behavior are no longer invisible in the entertainment industry–they are demonized by it.

    Can you refer to any mainstream broadcast or print media that explicitly questioned the morality of homosexual behavior in the last twenty years? I can’t. On the other hand, I can show you a mountain of stories that characterize the criticism of traditional sexual mores as progress.

    So, no, blaming the victims of biased reporting doesn’t sell.

  • danr

    Jason, your stance seems to largely boil down to “It’s not the poor hapless media’s fault it’s so excruciatingly difficult for them to find nuanced voices amidst all of the bigoted right-wing noisemakers that are so easy to rely on for opposition soundbites. After all, they’ve tainted the whole Christian-perspective well.”

    Then why does the media still seek water from that tainted well, when surely at least some know as well as you seemingly do there are other wells? One way to remedy tainted water is to keep pouring in freshwater. If you were provided a list of such willing nuanced voices the press could speak with if genuinely interested in balance, would you perhaps forward it to them?

    It might seem more plausible to some of us that rather than it being next to impossible to find such voices, it fits a largely pro-SSM journalistic agenda to either a) ignore opposition, or b) continue to use choice quotes and characters that paint the opposition in the worst possible light.

  • Martha

    Mollie, we may as well face it: resistance is futile. We will be assimilated.

    Judging by the majority of comments on here, if we do not agree that same-sex everything is intrinsically superior to the out-moded, repressive, heterocentrist way of doing things, we are to be crushed beneath the Juggernaut of progress, betterment, enlightenment, advancement, and fluffy bunnies all round.

    Tolerance is not enough – you *must* approve!

  • http://metapundit.net/sections/blog metapundit

    My local paper (the Modesto Bee) had a front page article today about Gay Marriage focusing on religious attitudes (see http://www.modbee.com/local/v-print/story/330177.html). The article wasn’t terrible with comments from religious leaders on both sides of the issue. I did think that the coverage leaned to the pro side of the debate – my area is fairly conservative, particularly religiously, and most of the commentary in the article came from local Congregational and Unitarians. And it was sloppy to allow this quote

    He doesn’t believe rational, even-tempered people can disagree with him based on Scripture or other religious values.

    “I see hatred. I have known hatred from people who don’t know me or anything about me. Hatred is something that’s fear-based. It’s not what Christianity is about at all. Hatred can never be justified in Christianity.”

    to set the tone for the end of the piece. I also think that the absence of evangelical protestant representatives is interesting – we’ve half a dozen evangelical mega-churches locally (First Baptist, Calvary Chapel, Calvary Temple, Big Valley Grace, etc) any of which is numerically larger than the Congregationalists and Unitarians of the area.

  • http://irishlaw.blogspot.com Kimberly

    Mollie, I agree with your view on the coverage. I often think of Okrent’s famous ombudsman column admitting how much of “cheerleading” coverage the NYT had provided in the past few years – it seems to have had no effect. Same for several other papers.

    After Ohio passed its DOMA law a few years ago (just prior to passing a state amendment), the Columbus Dispatch reported on the legislative process by quoting, as I noted in a letter to the editor, seven separate people opposed to the bill. Yet, the bill passed, so presumably there were people in favor of it – amazing that the paper couldn’t find any! Just by framing it as a journalism issue (which it should rightly have been anyway – this paper was in the best position to report on the Ohio legislature), I do think the paper was responsive. The next article by that reporter did contain quotes from state senators who supported the bill.

    That doesn’t ever seem to happen with the Washington Post, SF Chronicle, and others. Yet, as pointed out, 60% of California voters supported a DOMA just 8 years ago. 27 states have constitutional DOMA amendments, and over 40 have DOMA statutes. It shouldn’t be too hard to find some supporters of these positions – but I think the media just finds it much easier to ignore them in favor of the preferred narrative here.

  • KarenH

    I’m a religious liberal, and I don’t have a problem with the gay lifestyle–sorry if that bothers some of you. My concern, however, is why–in this time when there is such a high concern about the separation of church and state–that the media ignores almost completely that in the matter of gay marriages the state is dictating what the church must believe and act on? If the state punishes a church for not allowing a certain type of marriage on its grounds (as per the Methodist case) even though it may be counter to that church’s belief system, this is most definitely blurring the lines between church and state. It’s no different than the Chinese government choosing who will be a “Catholic” priest, or choosing their own “Dalai Lama.” When that religion bows to such government interference, it ceases then to be an independent body, and becomes a state-dictated/mandated religion.

    Once that line’s crossed, any future government can mandate what it wills on different religions, and history shows governments can change, often wildly, and for the worse. Who knows but some future government may mandate the eating of pork for orthodox Jews and Muslims, or force pacifist Mennonites to fight in the front lines of war. Or persecute individuals whose religion allows polygamy.

    From the way MSM journalists don’t bother to pay attention to these matters, I guess it means they’re okay with that.

  • Jerry

    He doesn’t believe rational, even-tempered people can disagree with him based on Scripture or other religious values.

    I disagree that that it was sloppy to allow that quote. The quote puts the issue into sharp relief because it denies that anyone who disagrees can do so sincerely on the basis of his or her beliefs. It says that anyone who disagrees is prejudiced at best. That self-righteous certainty is no monopoly of the left or right. Both sides have some people who think and act that way. It’s more work to try to determine who is sincere and who is not, but it’s worthwhile work. Sadly, the media is not helping by its coverage.

  • http://metapundit.net/sections/blog metapundit

    >I disagree that that it was sloppy to allow that quote.

    Sorry – I phrased that badly – the sentence continues after the blockquote so “It was sloppy to allow the quote … to set the tone for the end of the piece.”

    I agree (and threads here certainly seem to be illustrating this) that there are bigots on both sides. But I’d be hard pressed to read the the end of the ModBee story as rebutting Schiefelbein’s imputation of bigotry to anybody who disagrees (there is a brief response from the Exodus guy but it segues quickly into positive spiritual affirmation of gay marriage.

    Put together that way I think the article certainly leans towards the implication that only non-rational short tempered people motivated by hatred oppose gay marriage…

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The “news” coverage of this issue proves once again that when it comes to social issues the MSM does not present the news but, instead, propagandizes for the Left.
    Around the world what can only be called state fascism on behalf of gays has become commonplace. Bishops and ministers have been dragged into court for teaching from the pulpit what is in the Bible and the Christian moral Tradition (Even the Communists usually let alone what went on inside Church walls).
    Yet the MSM virtually ignores any news story that doesn’t put the Gay Movement or Gays in a good light, including how state power is used to undermine and eventually destroy the concept of religious freedom on behalf of the Movement.

  • Dave

    Mollie:

    I completely disagree with your characterization of the New York Times review of Massachusetts gay marriages after four years. It was not cheerleading, nor a Norman Rockwell portrait; it was a sober survey of the facts on the ground. It even provided some ink to gay opponents of gay marriage.

    By sweeping that story in with the advocacy accounts, you put into question your own judgement in making such classifications.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Dave,

    You need to read my post more carefully.

    I said that the story provided ink to gay opponents of gay marriage. And I also said that that story — and nearly all of the other ones I linked to — weren’t bad — it was just that taken together we had a very one-sided picture. I actually liked the LA Times and the Chronicle stories on how gay people have a variety of emotions in response to legalized same-sex marriage.

    The only stories I actually said were bad were the first Times story on how straight people have everything to learn from gay marriages and the ridiculous citation of Kinsey.

  • FW Ken

    Several quotes from the thread above illustrate the difficulty we have discussing this issue, which is, I think, reflected in MSM coverage of it.

    what gays and lesbians do in the privacy of their own homes

    Haven’t heard that one in awhile, since weddings don’t (generally) happen in the privacy of one’s home. Even when they do, the marriage certificate comes from the court house staffed with public funds. And Gay Pride parades are public, not private affairs. This isn’t about the community invading the home, but private relationships seeking public recognition.

    What about all the religious traditions that WANT to bless same-sex marriages and have them be legally recognized

    Blessing relationships and legal recognition are different matters. I believe the Metropolitan Community Church has done same-sex weddings forever. As above, religious belief and civil recognition of marriage are different matters. As I said, a non-religious case against same-sex marriage is quite possible. The case for same sex marriage should also be non-religious.

    in some pavillion which just happened to belong to a church.

    A distinction without a difference. My property is my property and I have a right to control it’s use, whether I am an individual, a corporation, or a church. The ruling was an infringement of church/state separation consistent with events in Canada, where same-sex relationships went from “tolerance” to “acceptance” some years ago. Unfortunately, “acceptance” seems to breed a demand that all dissenting voices be silenced. As Martha said: YOU MUST APPROVE!

    And I can’t find who said it, but this has been going on longer than 20 years. My first memory of gay apologetics was ca. 1975. I was in grad school at U.T. Austin and read a long opinion piece in the Daily Texas. Granted, that’s a rag with a particular bent, but it was there 33 years ago.

  • Dave

    Mollie (#28):

    I took your comment “very positive no matter what” on the NY Times story to mean it was boosterism for gay marriage. If you meant it was good journalism, that wasn’t clear to me. And if that’s what you meant, it doesn’t belong in a Get Religion post.

    Your post made no mention of inclusion in the NY Times piece of coverage of gay opponents of gay marriage. You did mention something like that in reference to an LA Times piece.

    From your post:

    [...T]hat’s exactly how I’d describe every mainstream media outlet’s treatment of the subject.

    “That” referred to Mayor Newsom’s framing of his press conferences on the subject. This statement sweeps in the NY Time piece and colors a reasonable reader’s interpretation of what you meant by “very positive no matter what.”

    If anyone finds any coverage that does anything with this story other than what Gavin Newsom and other activists aim for, please let me know.

    This morning’s Plain Dealer in Cleveland has a political analysis, clearly labeled “analysis,” of the anticipated impact of gay marriage as a political issue on voting in Ohio this November. (Short abstract: Not much.) It neither cheerleads nor condemns. It quotes several poltical scientists, and one gay-marriage opponent speaking as a GOP strategist, ie politically. It wouldn’t belong in a Get Religion post any more than the NY Times piece.

    Mollie, your judgement on this matter still needs vindication. Your position seems to be that any coverage of gay marriage that is simply factual is de facto cheerleading, that any piece that treats gay marriage from a strictly political perspective is failing to Get Religion because gay marriage has religious opponents, and that any coverage of opinion on gay marriage that does not seek out a non-”society will crumble” religious critic (assuming one can be found) fails to Get Religion. If I have misconstrued you herein, you have muddied the waters yourself with your previous defense of GR posts that fell into these categories.

  • KarenH

    The moment you deny people legal rights based on the denial of access to an institution callled “marriage,” that it was originally created as a non-secular institution is inconsquential. Once you slather a religious institution with thousands of legal, secular rights that are not contingent on a religious blessing, it become secular.

    Well, no, it doesn’t. In history–the French Revolution, for example, which went through an atheistic phase–civil unions were created that were unions between two people (male and female back then) that were meant to be secular, not religious. In other words, “marriage” was seen as a religious concept, and when the French wanted nothing to do with religion, they rejected the word and created civil unions instead, which were not sanctioned or conducted in a church, but by an official of the state. Marriage then as now had all sorts of legal rights and ramifications. The French created civil unions that also had legal rights and ramifications, but had nothing to do with religion–it was a contractual arrangement that was wholly secular.

    Churches could continue to conduct marriages, but only if the priest vowed that the state was supreme over God. Many priests refused to do so, and they were sent to their deaths, and their churches confiscated. So, it’s not like the state hasn’t been nasty to religion before. Governments change. It can happen again.

    So, what I want to know is, are there any states now that have purely secular partner unions? Civil unions, or domestic partnership arrangements?

    For me, it comes down to a matter of choice. No person of any religious (or non-religious, for that matter) persuasion should be forced to act in a way that goes counter to that ethical/religious belief by the state, unless perhaps it’s physically harmful to someone else.

    I would make it clear that civil unions are secular, and marriages are religious. To the very religious especially, marriages are defined as a union that is sanctioned by the church and blessed by God. To say “gay marriages” is to tell those religious that down the line, they will be forced to recognize and conduct those marriages in their churches, regardless of their beliefs.

    There are churches that will marry gay couples, because they have come to the conclusion that it’s okay (Unitarians, for example). The state should have no say in that, either. Separation of church and state.

    Funny thing, I’ve asked more than a few conservative Christians if they object to gay civil unions. They said no. They just don’t want gay marriages.

    To them, there’s a very real difference. I don’t see that difference explored much in the news.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Over the course of the day, I’ve had to delete several dozen comments on this thread.

    As a general rule, please stop calling defenders of traditional marriage bigots, racists, etc.

    Also as a general rule, stay on the topic of news coverage of the issue — NOT THE ISSUE ITSELF.

    I had to delete some perfectly fine comments just because they were in response to other comments I deleted.

    And I probably should have spiked a few more that remain.

    Anyway, be nicer.

  • Holly

    Could you tell me from where you get your photos?

    It seems that none of them have been properly credited, which opens you up for a mighty lawsuit(s). Unless of course, this website owns the copyright of the photos. If that is the case, please ignore this comment.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jay,

    We do media analysis, not analysis of same-sex marriage.

    Thanks.

  • Jay

    Mollie,

    …The people who are much more likely to be ignored in mainstream media coverage are gay Christians and liberal Christians and denominations like the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada and the Metropolitan Community Church and the Universalist Unitarians who support equal rights for gay men and lesbians. The mainstream media tend to make it appear that all Christians are conservative Christians. That is what journalist don’t get religion.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    JAY:

    Clearly you are new to the site.

    GetReligion has been calling for more coverage of the religious left since the day the site opened, especially coverage of the worship and doctrine of the churches on the left.

    When you fine examples of media bias against the religious left, or simply statements that are not accurate, please send us the URLs. However, one trend on the West Coast, right now, is to focus almost all of the attention ON the churches of the left, in a religious sense, while only focusing on the actions of conservative believers in a political sense.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jay,

    Please watch your tone. Perhaps you should get to know this site a bit more before you cast aspersions.

    And if you have a problem with something I’ve written, take the time to demonstrate what is wrong with it.

    We don’t cover liberal media or conservative media. We cover MAINSTREAM media.

    Learn a bit about the site and then hop into the discussion, okay?

  • Jay

    Molly,

    I could analyze your article line by line to indicate its bias, but I will look only at your characterization of the article in the New York Times. You write: “The whole article is about how homosexual couples are better in seemingly every way than heterosexual couples. They divide work more fairly, they fight more fairly, they get less angry.?” The article says no such thing. What it says is that since members of a same-sex couple are of the same gender, their experiences may be helpful in illuminating the extent to which heterosexual marriages are made difficult because men and women communicate differently. The article does not suggest that homosexual couples are “better,” though homosexual couples may communicate better.

  • Jay

    Mollie,

    Your comment about another New York Times article similarly betrays serious bias. You write: “Another New York Times story looks at several same-sex couples who got married in Massachusetts four years ago. Some have divorced, some stayed married, but the story is very positive no matter what.”

    The purpose of the article was to look at the experiences of same-sex couples in Massachusetts, not to editorialize about whether same-sex marriage was a good idea or not. What would the point be of bringing in opponents of same-sex marriage to question the experiences of these couples?

    (I suspect you think that the media is supposed to balance every pro-gay comment with an anti-gay comment.)

    In any case, the story indicates that some people got married too quickly, that their relationships changed as a result of their marriage. The couples profiled represented a pretty wide range of experience and background. I suspect that a story of opposite-sex marriages three years later would yield a similar range of successes and failures.

  • Jay

    Another correction: the story did not quote gay people opposed to same-sex marriage. It quoted some gay people who were opposed to marriage in general, regarding the institution itself as patriarchal and not for them.

    Lots of gay people do not want to get married. Some straight people don’t want to get married, either. The gay people who do not want to get married do not necessarily want the state to prevent those who do from getting married.

    It is interesting that the Netherlands offers both marriage and partnership, both of which are open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. A lot of couples–both heterosexual and homosexual–opt for the partnership because they do not want any religious associations at all.

  • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog.html Jason Pitzl-Waters

    “As a general rule, please stop calling defenders of traditional marriage bigots, racists, etc.”

    I completely agree. We should keep things civil. On the same note, proponents of same-sex marriage should not be called fascists, Marxists, or cast as players in some sort of dystopian future in which traditional believers are crushed under the boot of liberalism.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    JAY:

    The nation is bitterly divided on these issues.

    It is in the interest of the media to cover both sides of these debates in a way that fairly and accurately represents the views on both sides.

    Meanwhile, I suggest that you read the New York Times self-study documents on its struggles to cover the beliefs and actions of people outside of deep-blue cultural zones. Anyone who studies the surveys of mainstream journalists knows that the press is struggling to achieve any kind of balance and diversity on these hot-button social issues.

    There is no need for conspiracy, when 90 percent of the people in a room share the same beliefs.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    JASON:

    “… some sort of dystopian future in which traditional believers are crushed under the boot of liberalism.”

    Thus, our focus has been on the status and future of free-speech and freedom of association in these times — truly liberal values.

  • Jay

    tmatt,

    fairness and accuracy are always desirable. However, I don’t seem much fairness or accuracy in these postings by Mollie, which seem to me as ideological and biased as she alleges the mainsteam media are. in fact, the New York Times articles that she cites are nothing at all like she characterized them.


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