Another one-sided AP same-sex marriage story

Case closed.

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.

Case closed.

About Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning reporter and editor with a quarter-century of professional experience. A former religion editor for The Oklahoman and religion writer for The Associated Press, Ross serves as chief correspondent for the The Christian Chronicle. He has reported from 47 states and 11 countries and was honored as the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 Magazine Reporter of the Year.

  • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

    It is amazing how much gay propaganda is in the media. My wife and I saw and heard ad after ad on our local PBS stations about a series called “The Last Tango In Halifax.” their T V station was going to run.
    It was advertised as about two elderly people meeting again after 60 years. They had been in love as young students.
    Now, since my wife and I are in our late 60′s we thought a love story about 2 elders would be quite nice.
    But the series was far more a pro-homosexual propaganda job about the love affair between the woman’s daughter and another woman and how everyone reacted to it. The ads were clearly a fraud to suck older viewers in. The one person in the PBS-BBC series who had moral objections about her daughter’s affair was portrayed with ridicule and insult. But, of course, eventually, she saw the error of her ways and pathetically groveled in apology for daring to have moral objections to what her daughter was involved in.
    Thus is the tax money of millions being used to attack their moral beliefs on PBS.

  • mally el

    I take no notice of stories coming from the major news gatherers and reporters.
    I read other websites (not the mainstream ones) and blogs. This way it is easier to get some facts and not just edited and distorted versions.

  • Scott L

    Sounds like tthe AP is behaving like a responsible organization in 2013. Marriage equality is a reality in much of the country. Accept it.

  • Scott L

    I’m curious why my comment hasn’t yet been posted, especially given the theme of the article.

    • http://getreligion.org/ Bobby Ross Jr.

      Your comment was moderated because it fell outside our policy for reader feedback: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/policies/

      Engage the contents of the post. This is a journalism weblog. Please strive to comment on journalism issues, not your opinions of the doctrinal or political beliefs of other people.

  • Gail Finke

    My city’s newspaper takes a similar editorial view in all its stories — and in fact ran a giant “feature story” about a gay couple, one of whom is dying of ALS, flying to another state to get married there in the plane (still on the runway) and flying back. This tearjerking feature story/editorial ran on the front of the editorial page and ended with some editorializing about how people who care for each other like married people do should be given the benefits of marriage. All stories have the “when” angle, not an “if” angle, are totally focused on emotion or “fairness” or both, and never include any explanation of reasons for supporting the actual definition of marriage. The only reasons the editors seem to be able to imagine are religious ones, and they have already decided religious reasons have no merit.

    • http://getreligion.org/ Bobby Ross Jr.

      Gail, did the item you describe run on a news page or an editorial page? If it ran on a news page, then it should report all sides fairly and accurately. If it ran on an editorial (read: opinion) page, then certainly the newspaper has that right to express its opinion. The problem is when opinion articles are published on news pages and not identified as such.

      • Gail Finke

        It ran on the editorial page, but as a feature story. So it was an odd hybrid. The paper is a Gannett paper — don’t know if they are all like this or not — but the paper’s whole approach now frequently blends features and editorials, and sometimes news, although not usually as blatantly as this. Subsequent stories about a court case, the ruling on that case, the ruling being extended to other cases, etc., have all been covered as news but have not included any opposing viewpoints.

        You can read it here: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130714/NEWS10/307140009/FORUM-get-married-they-left-Ohio?nclick_check=1

  • FW Ken

    Here’s another article. It does have contrasting voices, sort of.

    http://articles.philly.com/2013-10-21/news/43222455_1_philadelphia-church-pastors-episcopal-church

    The story is about Methodists; no idea why the title references the Episcopal Church.

  • http://getreligion.org/ Bobby Ross Jr.

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