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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.

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.

Really! Clap your hands REALLY hard, Tony and maybe Tinker Belle will live.

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?

Originally posted to Angry Gays on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent, important diary, Dave. (10+ / 0-)

    Many, many thanks.

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:07:27 PM PST

  •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib
    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?
    Marriage equality is in a different category because it is the subject of current elections and court challenges.

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:24:58 PM PST

  •  Time is on our side, Dave, time on our side (8+ / 0-)

    Even people, like the nice gentleman from Biddefd, who think homosexuality is "icky" or unnatural, now believe in marriage equality. And vote for equality.

    And the younger the voter, the more votes for equality.

    I know this is hard. It's infuriating, this "fair and balanced" pseudo-journalism. But the the tide has turned.

    The tide has turned.

    A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

    by BobBlueMass on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:30:38 PM PST

  •  What consequences are there of marriage equality? (9+ / 0-)

    Not the ones Tony's predicting, that's for sure.

    More stability for the children of same-sex couples? Check.

    More predictability in providing for those who are ill? Check.

    Less poverty and uncertainty? Check.

    Less discrimination and hate and violence? Check.

    More diversity in more places? Check.

    Poor Tony. By most polling measures, the majority of Americans now favor marriage equality. There is no indication whatsoever that this is going to change (though of course we're bound to reach a point where the growth of the majority will slow).  Yet Perkins keeps yammering on as though what we were proposing was some scary novelty, opposed by the vast majority. People who don't inhabit reality don't generally make very good prognostications.

  •  Last night on the Newshour I watched (4+ / 0-)

    while some kid from NOM was passionately defending the "traditional" (whatever that is) form of marriage and using these same talking points ("temporary setback", "bluest of blue states", etc) and at one point he was gesticulating with his hands. I noticed that he was not wearing a wedding ring. Someone should ask that punk about that. ;)

  •  Regarding whether SCOTUS is willing to get (3+ / 0-)

    out in front of public opinion, it should be noted that when they legalized mixed-race marriage throughout the US only 27% of the public supported such marriages.

    •  At the time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gizmo59, irishwitch, Tennessee Dave

      that Loving v. Virginia was decided, 16 states had statutes prohibiting interracial marriage, comprising all of the states of the Confederacy, plus Oklahoma, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia.  Fifteen states had repealed such laws in the 15 years prior to Loving.  Thus, it was a distinct and distinctively racist  minority of states that prohibited interracial marriage, and the court evidently considered both the absolute numbers and the trend, since both were included in a footnote in the decision.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:41:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The same footnote you mention also refers to the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        Perez v Sharp case where the California court found an equal protection violation.   SCOTUS apparently found that legal argument convincing, but was also offended by Virginia's equal application argument.

        That footnote wasn't a poll of the states or the people, it was simply a statement of fact about the laws in the various states.    I've never seen any evidence whatsoever that SCOTUS weighed public opinion or the current state policies before it rendered its verdict in this case.    

        I'm not naively assuming that individual jurists don't weigh those trends but there's no evidence whatsoever in the decision to indicate that they did so.

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          The fact is that the Court did include the tally in the decision, and it made the compelling point that interracial marriage bans were only found in the laws of the most virulently racist states.  I don't know how that is not evidence that the court weighed then-current state policies.

          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

          by Old Left Good Left on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:43:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Simply put, it isn't even discussed in the body of (0+ / 0-)

            the decision.    Of course the court is going to cite the history and current status of the laws in the states (just as it cited the CA precedent on which it ultimately modeled its ruling), but that doesn't support your point one bit.    If anything, all that footnote did was demonstrate that odious racism was the raison d'etre for such laws, contrary to Virginia's argument.

            Perhaps more to the point, the court assumed that Virginia's basis for the ban was rational (to prevent mixed-race offspring)....and yet they still found due process and equal protection violations.    That weighs against your assumption that the ruling was based on a poll.

            •  Uh huh (0+ / 0-)

              And you don' think the court took into account that interracial marriage bans were based on odious racism?  Courts are political bodies, and legal reasoning is a means to an end.

              And you don't think footnotes Supreme Court decisions  aren't important?  I would direct you to, for example, footnote four of Carolene Products.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:56:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not sure how you can cite the history of the (0+ / 0-)

                states' anti-miscegenation laws without actually citing the history of the states' anti-miscegenation laws.   And when it was cited it was relegated to a mere footnote.

                The point is that the stated basis for the ruling was rooted in the 14th Amendment just like Perez was, not in opinion polls or discussions of where the states were headed in their policies.    What you think happened is found nowhere at all in the ruling.  

                That doesn't mean that public opinion or the opinions of the various state legislatures wasn't on the minds of some of the justices (they're not immune to politics or prevailing social mores), but it simply isn't present in the ruling.   If anything they took a very courageous stance given that the vast majority of the public vehemently opposed what they did.    Not many SCOTUS decisions are unanimous but this one was - even though they had to know that it would be very unpopular with their friends and neighbors in Virginia.

                The only way I can imagine that the opinions of the states might have been a factor is in regards to a potential constitutional amendment to overrule the court.   In fact there was such an attempt after Loving, but the court certainly knew when it made the ruling that it would go nowhere.

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