Yawn …. Networks Quickly Drop Blockbuster California Marriage Story

brianfitzpatrick.jpgby Brian Fitzpatrick, Senior Editor, Culture and Media Institute

The following article first appeared in the May 20, 2008 edition of “Culture Links,” the e-mail newsletter of the Culture and Media Institute. You can sign up for Culture Links on CMI’s informative website:

The Supreme Court of the nation’s largest state redefined the most important relationship in human society, marriage, and the networks lost interest in the story in one weekend.

On Thursday, California’s top court issued its decree ordering California to allow same-sex couples to “marry.” The networks carried the story on their Thursday evening broadcasts, but by Sunday, only one of the Big Three networks’ weekly public affairs shows bothered to discuss it. ABC’s This Week devoted a paltry two minutes to this monumentally important topic.

The liberal media treated the story one-dimensionally, as an historic victory for civil rights and the inevitable wave of the future, with a brief quote or two from opponents as a sop to balance. This isn’t surprising, given the media’s commitment to the homosexual agenda.

As I have witnessed personally, most of the big newspapers and major broadcast and cable networks sponsor the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA, pronounced “negligee”). They also recruit at NLGJA conferences. The media, both news and entertainment, have accepted the gay activist perspective that homosexuals deserve special civil rights protections that are now based on race, ethnicity, disability or sex.

Judging from the one-sided coverage of this court decision, the news media also have embraced gay activist principles about handling stories related to homosexuality. NLGJA member Ramon Escobar: “When we cover the black community, I’ve never seen a newsroom where you’re covering one side and then you have to go run out and get the Klan’s point of view.”

Sorry, Ramon, but this is a story with two sides. On one side, what’s best for homosexuals. On the other, what’s best for society as a whole.

Marriage is the institution that holds together the basic building block of society, the family. When marriage is strong, families are more likely to be healthy. Healthy families produce capable children who enable society to survive for another generation. When marriage is weak, families and children suffer, and eventually society pays the price. The media are failing abjectly to explore the implications of this decision for marriage and the family.

Here are a few points the media ought to be discussing in depth, if they would remove their ideological blinders:

Decline of marriage. Reports from European countries that have already gone down the civil union and same-sex “marriage” road are not encouraging. Scholar Stanley Kurtz warns that “gay marriage is both an effect and a cause of the increasing separation between marriage and parenthood.” According to Kurtz, “Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.”

Proliferation of family structures.
Same-sex “marriage” sets a terrible legal precedent. Once we’ve stepped outside the traditional boundary of one man, one woman marriage, we have no objective basis for denying marriage to any other combination of consenting adults. Certain standards are already being undermined. HBO is producing a cable TV show, Big Love, that desensitizes viewers to polygamy. In recent weeks we’ve also seen news stories that treat non-judgmentally, or even sympathetically, brother-sister and father-daughter incest.

Experimental childrearing. How do we know that these alternate family designs will produce healthy children as effectively as the nuclear family? Do we have the confidence, and the moral authority, to experiment with the next generation of children? A meta-analysis of “gay parenting” studies assembled by two pro-gay researchers at the University of Southern California and published in American Sociological Review [1] acknowledges what the media refuse to report: Growing up in a same-sex household does make kids more open to homosexuality and less gender-specific behavior, a finding the authors applaud.

Church-state conflicts. If same-sex “marriage” is the law of the land, what happens to churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples, or hire people in same-sex relationships? In last week’s episode of ABC’s Boston Legal, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston lost its tax-exempt status for refusing to allow a woman to become a priest. Boston Legal is just a television show, but in real-life Boston, Catholic Charities was forced to cease placing orphans for adoption because it refused to put children in homosexual households. Won’t real-life churches that oppose the state’s view of “civil rights” inevitably have their tax-exempt status challenged, or worse?

Infringement on free exercise of religion.
Companies owned by devout Christians or Jews have no protection whatever against being forced to subsidize what their faiths inform them is sinful behavior. The media have ignored California’s already Draconian law forcing businesses to provide marital-type benefits to gay partners or be banned from contracting with the state government.

What about the schools?
In Massachusetts, where the courts and former Governor Mitt Romney imposed same-sex “marriage” in 2004, the state has introduced pro-homosexual propaganda into the public schools.

Do the American people still govern themselves?
California’s Supreme Court directly overruled the California public’s overwhelming preference to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples, which is based on the traditional understanding that marriage is the unique, complementary joining of the two sexes, and widely held consensus that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. Same-sex “marriage” is not really a constitutional conflict. It’s a clash between two values systems—the secular-elite vs. the traditional-religious. Who are the elite courts to overrule the moral values of the majority? The media clearly side with the secular elites in this debate.

The lessons of history. Oxford anthropologist J.D. Unwin wrote Sex and Culture, the definitive study of why civilizations collapse. Unwin found that societies that practice “absolute monogamy,” in which sex is restricted to lifelong heterosexual marriage, tend to grow and prosper. Societies that open the sexual Pandora’s box and depart from absolute monogamy invariably decline. They become insignificant backwaters or disappear altogether.

Whether America should embrace same-sex “marriage” is a profoundly important question that needs to be fully aired. By not examining the enormous stakes, the media are allowing a razor-thin majority of California Supreme Court justices to have the final word.

CMI Director Robert Knight contributed to the above article.

1. Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz, “(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?” American Sociological Review, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April, 2001), pp. 159-183.

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