The headline is promising: Push Expands for Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage. But the writer is Erik Eckholm, who I last commented on the weekend before the election when he decided to write an article about the beleaguered ex-gay community.
My issue here is not with the language (as it was last time), it's about his sources. We have six people (two pollsters among them) speaking on behalf (this is a loose construction of "on behalf") of marriage equality, but we of course have to have the three caballeros (Brian Brown, Tony Perkins, Frank Schubert) of opposition quoted as well. Let's see how
Erickson Eckholm does this.
This time, Eckholm has arrived at an epiphany about marriage equality:
A rapid shift in public opinion is bolstering their cause as more people grow used to the idea of same-sex marriage and become acquainted with openly gay people and couples.He proves this by taking the testimony of one Douglas Emmons, 52, of Biddeford, Maine, whose daughter (and a Mainers United organizer) convinced him his 2008 vote against marriage equality was wrong. But we haven't come all the way with this guy.
“It’s still something that’s uncomfortable; it doesn’t seem quite natural,” Mr. Emmons said. “But I guess everybody should have an equal chance at marriage if they want it.”Ah, well. Eckholm identifies the next targets of equality campaigners: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and New Jersey. He cites a rapid change in public opinion as the reason why these are the next targets, and he gets confirmation from Michael Dimmock at Pew. He notes that the advocates of marriage equality have figured out how to advertise, and he observes that the cause has attracted people capable of contributing large sums of money. But as for the magnitude of last Tuesday's results? Cue Brian Brown of NOM:
“We lost by small margins in bastions of deep-blue America,” said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. He noted that 30 states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. He said he expected Indiana to vote on such an amendment in the next year or two, “and we will win.”I'm almost ready to concede that the article is holding him up for ridicule, because it's followed by a long statement by Steve Schmidt who refers to "a suicide pact with the National Organization for Marriage" that he thinks the Republicans shouldn't sign.
But then Eckholm switches to concern-troll mode. Beside the states listed above, he mentions the possibility of a Maine-like referendum in Oregon and in California (if the court doesn't do what everyone expects them to do). Then he writes
But repealing amendments would be much harder in many other states, where one or two years of legislative action must often precede a public vote.We now hear from Evan Wolfson, who says the Supreme Court will have the final word on this and points out how important it is to create the proper changes in public opinion to get the court there. Fair enough, except Eckholm has to rebut this. Not by himself, of course.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, disputed the notion that history is on the side of same-sex marriage, arguing that the legalization of abortion by Roe v. Wade in the 1970s had set in motion a powerful and still growing backlash.Really! Clap your hands REALLY hard, Tony and maybe Tinker Belle will live.
Over time, Mr. Perkins predicted, as people see what he called the consequences of same-sex marriage — grade schools’ endorsing homosexuality, business owners and religious institutions forced to act against their religious beliefs — opposition will rebound.
If that isn't enough, Eckholm ends the article with a he-said-he-said exchange (not really, Eckholm arranged the quotes in this order) between Frank Schubert and Zach Silk, the campaign manager of Washington United for Marriage. Schubert thinks the opponents of marriage equality just didn't have the resources to fight the sodomites this time, and Silk thinks that's wrong, the times really ARE a-changing.
What will it take for media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post to stop going to opponents of marriage equality for quotations every time they write about it? We don't hear from segregationists or anti-Semites in their pages any more. What will convince them that homophobia is in the same category?