Washington Times’ Dishonest Anti-Gay Insinuation

Timothy Kincaid

December 28th, 2008

The Washington Times was started by the Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon and is known as a conservative paper. For many years the Times ignored the AP Stylebook and refused to use the word “gay” when referring to same-sex attracted persons, preferring “homosexual”, and put quotation marks around the word “marriage” if it applied to a same-sex couple, even when such marriage was legal and recognized by the state.

At the beginning of 2008, the Times brought on a new editor-in-chief, John Solomon, who sought to remove some of the more obvious bias from news stories, including a change in the words used to describe gay people. At that time, Solomon expressed an intent to remove editorializing from the news stories and make them about, well, news.

The only point I have made with the reporters and editors who write for the news pages is there must be a bright line between opinion and editorializing that rightfully belongs on the op-ed and commentary pages and the fair, balanced, accurate, and precise reporting that must appear in the news sections of the paper.

While that is a commendable goal, an article in the paper today shows that the Washington Times is still willing to insert opinion into their news stories and will even go so far as print insinuations to do so.

The story in question is about the adoption of an infant by a gay couple. In late 2005, the child was born prematurely in Shreveport, LA, and after a month in the hospital was given to the New York couple. They began adoption procedures in their home state and on April 27, 2006, the State of New York made the adoption final.

State law in Louisiana requires that the Office of Vital Records reissue a birth certificate with the adoptive parents’ names when receiving a notice of adoption. However, the state refused, saying that their state laws don’t allow for two unmarried people to adopt a child together so they were not going to recognize the adoption. On Monday, a US District Judge ruled that the US Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause requires that Louisiana record both parents on the revised form.

This is, in itself, an interesting story. But what I found more interesting was the way in which it was misreported and distorted by the Washington Times. Although the AP reported the story in a straight-forward manner, in the middle of the Times version, the following paragraphs appeared:

In the national debate over gay marriage, one often-cited scenario involves a federal court using similar logic to require states that bar such unions to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, as all states now do with each other’s marriages under the federal Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause.

Such a federal ruling would effectively impose same-sex marriage on the entire nation, and homosexual activists celebrated this decision as requiring every state to recognize any other state’s gay adoptions.

This story has nothing to do with marriage, and as the law currently stands the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allows states to ignore marriage in other states. But reporting the story wasn’t good enough for the Times; they needed to insinuate and scare and demonize.

What the Times is insinuating in that rather astonishing last paragraph is twofold. First, that the celebration of adoption rights somehow portends marriage rights and, secondly, that “homosexual activists” are out to get you and impose things upon you. If the “homosexual activists” are celebrating, you should be afraid.

Sorry, Mr. Solomon, but the homophobia and bigotry for which the Washington Times has always been known doesn’t seem to have gone away and your “news” is still chuck-full of opinion and editorial.

elaygee

December 28th, 2008

Who reads that trash paper anymore? Real news is available free on the internet.

Dale

December 28th, 2008

The WT pushes Moon’s extreme right wing homophobic agenda and always will. Solomon is the latest to help Moon with his messianic mission to control the direction of world events. He was on Cspan last spring and deceived the viewers about the relationship between the paper and its homophobic megalomaniac owner, Moon.

Moon brags about using the paper to “influence” America and it has. The nation would not be as right wing and the Republican Party would not depend on a base of homphobes and anti-science theocrats absent Moon’s “efforts.”

http://tinyurl.com/54dpz

http://tinyurl.com/a564bs

John

December 28th, 2008

I would agree that the Washington Times is nothing more than the Moonie Times. When I lived in DC, I remember getting a subscription call from the Washington Times where the caller asked to speak to the “man of the house.” I told him that I would never buy that Moonie rag.

All that being said, the paper is correct. The Defense of Marriage Act is patently unconstitutional and any fair reading of the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution would require states to recognize legally binding marriages in other states.

The whole “homosexual activists” scare mongering is a bit offensive, but oddly enough, the Washington Times got it right on their reading of the Constitution. Hopefully Obama can appoint a few fair-minded judges who aren’t going to void the “full faith and credit” clause, and we will have legally recognized marriage equality in this country.

Dave

December 28th, 2008

I must disagree with John on the full faith and credit clause of the federal constitution.

That clause, Article IV section 1, states:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

This simply means that the public acts and records of other states must be duly recognized by every state. It does not give a state the power to use its laws to force a change in the laws of other states.

Also, in calling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, John is ignoring the second part of the clause (which I put in bold).

Lynn David

December 28th, 2008

I’m with John, that’s a good analysis of the situation. The DOMA is unconstitutional, and I still don’t understand why the court case on it (I think by a gay couple who moved from Massachusetts to Florida, and maybe others) was dropped by them.

John

December 28th, 2008

Lynn David,

The reason that the Defense of Marriage Act isn’t currently being challenged by Lambda Legal and other gay groups is out of fear that the current Supreme Court might invalidate(or at least carve out a vary narrow anti-gay exception to) the “full faith and credit clause.” They are waiting for more moderate Democratic and Republican appointees who would be more likely to uphold the “full faith and credit” clause.

Lynn David

December 29th, 2008

Yeah, John I went looking for a reason and I believe I found it in this article.

In that article what I think found is that it had to do with the way the Justices ruled in Lawrence v Texas and the idea of a “public policy exemption” to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. One needs to combine the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to get passed a “public policy exemption” to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution.

Justice O’Connor used the Equal Protection Clause in striking down Bowers in Lawrence v Texas. He also suggested that laws distinguishing between heterosexuals and homosexuals, which are supported by a legitimate state interest such as “preserving the traditional interest of marriage,” would satisfy rational basis review under the Equal Protection Clause. Scalia’s brief seemed to support that opinion when he noted that marriage was in trouble.

However, the other five in the majority in Lawrence v Texas used the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in striking down Bowers (and now that I read this I remember some gay attorney friends being pissed that the EPC of the 14th wasn’t more generally used). The author of the above article says that “the majority in Lawrence, undoubtedly aware of the potential ramifications of the decision beyond the ability of states to criminalize sexual acts between members of the same sex, noted that Lawrence did not involve the issue of ‘whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons may enter.’

So I guess Lambda Legal thought the better of a test of the DOMA at that time because of a review of the majorit decision in Lawrence v Texas. My guess, however good a guess a laymen might have, is that might be changing.

Duncan

December 29th, 2008

There might be precedent over the question of whether the Full Faith and Credit clause would oblige every state to recognise any marriage. For decades many American states forbade interracial marriages; Massachusetts did not have any such law, and to prevent any conflict, it specified that no couple could marry within its borders if they could not do so in their resident state. Was there a legal challenge to a refusal to recognize such a marriage?

Jonathan Justice

December 30th, 2008

While the question of whether the Moonies have had to cover an operating deficit at the Washington Times in 2008 remains open, their history of covering such deficits is quite substantial. In other words, quite beyond founding the paper, the Reverend Doctor Better-than-Jesus Moon regularly puts up hard cash to continue the operations of a rightist and ostensibly free-market propaganda organ that does not even make enough money to cover its operating costs, let alone any dividends. This does tend to prioritize serving the Moonist agenda ahead of building a popular and profitable business operation, or a real newspaper.

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