The Associated Press has decided, apparently, that stories need to include only side. Stories about same-sex marriage, that is.
Earlier this month, I highlighted a doozy of an AP puff piece out of Salt Lake City on some Mormons challenging their church’s stance on homosexuality. Now comes another AP puff piece — this one datelined Harrisburg, Pa.
To be fair to AP, I should point out that the latest story does include two sides — New Jersey same-sex marriage advocates who are on the verge of victory and Pennsylvania same-sex marriage advocates who are having more trouble persuading their state to do the right thing.
Same-sex marriage opponents? Ah ha ha. Get out your magnifying glass and try to find them in this story.
The top of the editorial — er, news story:
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania and New Jersey are on tracks that could lead to the Northeast being the first full region in the country to legalize gay marriage – but the routes are hardly parallel and the horsepower anything but equal.
A flurry of recent court decisions has gay couples in New Jersey, where same-sex marriage has long been debated, hurrying to make wedding plans for when they can legally marry starting Monday – even as a moderate Republican governor with apparent presidential aspirations appeals.
Across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, advocates are pecking away at a 1996 gay marriage ban by introducing bills in the Legislature, defiantly issuing marriage licenses in localities and taking the issue to court – with few people conceding the tactics will work anytime soon in a big state with a socially conservative spine.
Who does AP allow to speak in their own voice — inside quote marks — in this story?
Here’s one source — a Pennsylvania lawmaker who favors same-sex marriage:
“I don’t think it is going to happen next year. … It’s going to take leadership from the top,” said state Rep. Mike Fleck, an openly gay Republican who represents a rural, conservative district in Huntingdon County, nestled in the Allegheny Mountains.
Here’s a second source — another Pennsylvania lawmaker who favors same-sex marriage:
Rep. Brian Sims, a lawyer and former Bloomsburg University football team captain who came out to his teammates during his final semester, introduced a gay marriage bill just this week and predicted that victory is not far off.
“In about 15 months, we’re going to have a new governor who’s going to be signing this bill into law,” the Philadelphia Democrat said, referring to the large field of Democrats who want to challenge Corbett’s 2014 re-election bid.
Here’s a third source — an attorney fighting for the rights of same-sex couples:
James D. Esseks, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and the group’s lead attorney in the successful challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, said the litigation and legislation will win new protections for gay couples while building a foundation for a favorable Supreme Court ruling on the constitutional issues.
“Nobody knows,” he said, “which case is going to be the one.”
Oops. Sorry, folks. We’ve reached the end of the story.