NPR devoted over eight minutes on Monday's All Things Considered to the possible economic and social impacts of the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in New York State during two reports from correspondents Margot Adler and Tovia Smith. Adler highlighted the bridal stores and other vendors who were "upbeat" and positive about the development, while Smith focused on the lesbian demographic who are torn about the decision to hitch or not. Neither correspondent featured any opponents of same-sex "marriage" during their reports.
Host Michele Norris noted in her introduction for Adler's report that "New York City is gearing up to become the premier gay marriage destination" and how the journalist "visited with some very eager bridal shops and florists." Adler expanded on this by highlighting the efforts of NYC's tourism board:
ADLER: No one knows the economic impact of same-sex marriage in New York. One report by the Independent Democratic Conference of the New York State Senate estimates about 66,000 gay couples will marry in the next three years. New York City and Company is the city's tourism and marketing organization. In about two weeks, it will roll out the 'NYC I do' campaign. They say same-sex weddings will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the already $31 billion tourism industry.
After playing a clip from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a same-sex "marriage" supporter, the NPR correspondent, who is also a Wiccan devotee, devoted the bulk of her report to the vendors who were excited about the new opportunity:
ADLER: ...Walk into Kleinfeld, a huge bridal emporium: 17 fitting rooms serving 15,000 brides a year. Appointments are made four weeks in advance, and no one asks sexual preference....And since you typically order a dress nine months to a year before the wedding, the clientele I see are women in traditional relationships, looking for that perfect white dress. Kleinfeld has served gays for years. They even have special consultants for same-sex couples....Ronnie Rothstein is co-owner of Kleinfeld, along with his wife Mara Urshel. The new law does something else, he says.
ROTHSTEIN: It legitimizes something that should have been done long ago. This is exciting. Our business has always been good in that community, and I think this will make it better.
REBECCA SHEPHERD: Astrontia, veronica, delphinium-
ADLER: Rebecca Shepherd is buying flowers for a wedding at Associated Cut flowers, a shop in the flower district that's been here for 53 years. Salesman Nicholas Cassandra is upbeat.
NICHOLAS CASSANDRA: More parties, more wedding planning, more flowers. So, we love it here. It's just going to bring in more business.
ADLER: But since most of the flowers are bought by event planners, it's hard to gauge the impact of same-sex weddings. Tom Simmonds and James Bernacki are event planners at Tom James Flowers and Events. They got married in Connecticut. Bernacki says people are still stunned that the law changed. But a lot of gay couples want recognition.
JAMES BERNACKI: They want their day. They want this dream for themselves.
ADLER: And he thinks gay weddings will push the envelope.
BERNACKI: Sharper, edgier, very sophisticated.
ADLER: But that might be a stereotype, says Millie Martini Bratten, the editor-in-chief of Brides magazine. Bratten says marriage celebrations occur 46,000 times a weekend. There'll just be more people.
MILLIE MARTINI BRATTEN, BRIDES MAGAZINE: How it changes the look or the feel or whatever, that's all to be determined, but I would guess not that much.
ADLER: The practical aspects are the same. What do we feed them? Do we have music? What will the invitations look like? And how will a magazine most think of as traditional mesh with this new reality? Bratten says the average reader of Brides is 27.
BRATTEN: They're watching 'Glee' and embracing all the different characters throughout popular culture- 'Modern Family.' They're not separate from what's going on in the world.
At the end of her report, Adler stated that "we don't know some things yet about same-sex marriage in New York, but probably it will be more like a tide than a tsunami." This prediction dovetailed right into Smith's report, who picked up where her colleague left off: "I'm Tovia Smith in Boston, where experience suggests pent-up demand among gays and lesbians does drive an initial wedding windfall, but it's usually short-lived."
For most of the second report, the NPR correspondent focused on the split in the homosexual community between the older generation who see no need for the institution of marriage and those who want to tie the knot. Most of her clips came from the more radical wing of the homosexual movement, who either want to remain "outsiders" or refuse to get married until the same-sex "marriage" is a reality nationwide:
LESLIE COHEN: I'm not sure we'll do it. We may do it, but I'm not sure.
SMITH: That's 65-year-old Leslie Cohen, who along with her partner, 63-year-old Beth Suskin, were the models for a gay liberation statue built three decades ago in New York City. They are literally a symbol of the movement, together 35 years, and definitely committed and in love....On the other hand, Cohen and Suskin say they are products of the '60s, and always believed marriage was just a piece of paper they didn't need. And after decades on the outskirts of societal norms, they say it's hard to suddenly pull a 180 and go all conventional.
COHEN: When you're an outsider, in order to make it okay, you have to embrace that otherness of yourself, you know, that you live on the outside, and many of us unconsciously don't want to totally give that up. I like it.
SUSKIN: Yeah, I do, too- being different.
COHEN: In a way, we get used to being different and being on the outside. And, you know, now with marriage, you're just like everyone else. You know, so there is a resistance to it.
SMITH: Like many same-sex couples, Cohen and Suskin also worry that financially, marriage may actually hurt them more than it helps, since their marriage wouldn't be recognized in Florida, where they've now retired, or by the federal government. Indeed, many couples around the nation who want to marry are holding out for full recognition.
JOYCE KAUFMAN: It's like no. It's insulting. You know, until it's the whole loaf, I'm not buying into it.
SMITH: Joyce Kaufman, an attorney in Massachusetts, has been with her partner for eight years, but doesn't want to marry until the federal Defense of Marriage Act is repealed.
KAUFMAN: Why would I do that if I'm not going to get all of the rights and benefits that every other married person in the world gets? You know, it infuriates me.
SMITH: Some, however, believe no matter what, same-sex marriages will never approach straight proportions, since many gay and lesbian families just can't fit within such a narrow definition of marriage. For example, says Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke, in many cases, there are more than two parents in the picture.
KATHERINE FRANKE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Sometimes, it's a sperm donor, but it can also be just another important person. So, lesbian and gay people have formed very complex families, and need more flexible norms about how we care for one another and who's important to us.
SMITH: Franke says her phone has been ringing off the hook with friends and family wanting to know if she and her longtime partner have set a date yet. But Franke says, they're not going to. She's one of many same-sex couples hoping that winning the right to say I do doesn't also mean losing the right to other options like civil unions or domestic partnerships. Tovia Smith, NPR News.
This isn't the first time that NPR in general and Smith specifically omitted social conservatives from their reporting on homosexual issues. On the April 12, 2011 edition of Morning Edition, the journalist promoted a homosexual activist's tax protest, playing sound bites from the activist and from two other supporters of same-sex "marriage," but none from opponents.