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Networks Ignore Crushing of Marriage Vote in Massachusetts

On a pivotal social issue, the people will have no voice in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.


The Massachusetts Legislature, meeting as a Constitutional Convention, permitted no debate yesterday and then quickly voted to deny the public the right to decide whether same-sex couples should be permitted to “marry” in the state.


What should have been a national news story was ignored last night by CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, and this morning by Good Morning America, the Early Show and the Today Show.  Only ABC World News Tonight (25 seconds) covered this story.


Cable coverage was better: Fox News Channel  devoted 24 seconds on Special Report with Brit Hume.  CNN spent 25 seconds on Lou Dobbs Tonight, 42 seconds on The Situation Room, and 15 seconds on Anderson Cooper 360.


Among the print media, The New York Times ran 17 paragraphs on page A-13 to lead the National Report section, the Los Angeles Times ran a long, balanced piece, and the local Boston press gave it significant ink, with the Boston Globe citing one pro-amendment spokesman and six pro-“gay marriage” sources.  The Washington Times ran a balanced piece on A-7, but The Washington Post ran a brief on page A-12, citing only Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's “victory” quotation. USA TODAY ran a brief on 3A, picking up a short Associated Press bulletin.


More than 170,000 Massachusetts citizens signed a petition to bring forward a proposed amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  The amendment already had been approved at an earlier Constitutional Convention and needed one more vote to get on the 2008 ballot. The measure would have taken effect upon passage. Critics noted that this would have grandfathered in 8,500 “gay marriages” already licensed in the state.


The amendment, which was opposed by Massachusetts' political elite and local and national homosexual activist groups, needed one more tally of only 50 of 200 legislators. But the elites crushed the attempt, 151 to 45, and the media don't particularly want Americans to know what happened.


A candidate for the Alice-in-Wonderland award for upside down perception goes to ABCNews.com, which gave the story this headline:


Gay Marriage Safe in Massachusetts:  Vote to Redefine Marriage as a Union Between a Man and a Woman Was Defeated.


Likewise, a New York Times article by Pam Belluck quoted only one pro-family spokesman about political strategy, but offered vivid, values-laden quotes from two legislators who voted against the amendment, from Gov. Patrick, and a gay rights activist.


Here's an excerpt from the Times:


“Senator Gale D. Candaras, a Democrat, voted against the amendment Thursday, although she had supported it as a state representative in January. Ms. Candaras said her vote reflected constituent views in her larger, more progressive Senate district and her fear of a vicious referendum campaign.  Most moving, she said, were older constituents who had changed their views after meeting gay men and lesbians. One woman had 'asked me to put it on the ballot for a vote, but since then a lovely couple moved in,' Ms. Candaras said. 'She said, “They help me with my lawn, and if there can't be marriage in Massachusetts, they'll leave and they can't help me with my lawn.”'”


Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute, the prime force behind the proposed amendment, was quoted only about his questioning of the means by which the Governor managed to change enough votes to defeat the measure.


The quotes fit an ongoing pattern of media coverage, in which liberal, pro-homosexual activists often are allowed to express heartfelt sentiments while conservative spokespeople get to comment only on strategy or technical details.


Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center. Senior Writer Kristen Fyfe and Research Assistant Colleen Raezler assisted with this article.