"Indefensible Marriage Act" blares the cover page headline for the Feb. 24 Express tabloid, a free publication of the Washington Post available around the D.C. metro area.
"In a major victory for gay rights, President Obama says the U.S. will no longer defend the federal law banning same-sex marriages," notes the caption for the photo depicting a hand holding both a miniature American flag and a miniature gay rights rainbow flag. On page 13 a subheading approvingly labels the move a "landmark call" by the Obama administration.
[see cover page image below page break]
"This major turn should be a final nail in the coffin for the different treatment of gay and non-gay people by the federal government," Suzanne Goldberg director of Columbia University's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law gushed. Express editors featured that quote in bold just below the body of the 12-paragraph story.
But although the cover story headline on page 13 described Obama's move as a "Divisive Decision," Express staffers only got around to conservative opposition in the final paragraph, in which Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel chastised the president for "stir[ring] up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation."
Of course the Express failed to quote any legal or constitutional scholars who would find fault with the rationale of the Obama/Holder Justice Department.
After all, while the Obama administration is claiming the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is so obviously unconstitutional that it cannot be plausibly defended in court, the same administration will still enforce the law. By that logic, since President Obama swore to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution, President Obama would be enforcing an act of Congress he thought unconstitutional.
It's also unclear how hard, if at all, President Obama will lobby Congress to repeal DOMA.
A non-biased reporter critically examining these issues could provide readers with a full, balanced picture of the controversy.
Unfortunately the Express was much more interested in wearing its bias on its sleeve.