AP Miscasts NY State Same-Sex Marriage Bill Status, Calls Common Cause Official a 'Good Government Advocate'

The headline at Michael Gormley's Associated Press story on the status of New York State's legislation legalizing same-sex marriage ("NY GOP tables gay marriage; showdown looms") does not reflect the bill's status in the legislative process as described in his underlying report.

Additionally, Gormley had either the ignorance or the gall to characterize an official with Common Cause, an organization whose leadership and national governing board comprise a virtual leftist Who's Who, as a "good government advocate." Gosh, the people at Heritage are also "good government advocates." Does anyone think they'll live to see an AP reporter describe any Heritage official in such terms? (To be clear, the wire service shouldn't do that in describing leftist or conservative officials.)

Here are excerpts from Gormley's report (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

After a day of more closed-door negotiations, New York's Senate left unsettled a bill to legalize gay marriage, setting up a pivotal showdown Wednesday as lawmakers look to end the legislative session and national groups look for a sign of things to come on the divisive issue.


The vote in the New York legislature is seen as a critical moment in the national debate over same-sex marriage. [1]


The Assembly has already passed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bill, and the issue appears to be one vote shy from approval in the Senate, if the Republican caucus which mostly opposes gay marriage allows the measure to the floor for a vote.


The effort to legalize same-sex marriage largely stalled two years ago when the state Senate voted it down. Since then, the movement has failed in Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Advocates hope a "yes" vote in New York will jumpstart the effort.


Susan Lerner, a good government advocate from the group Common Cause, said this year's debate has attracted more attention than any social issue since the abortion fights of the 1970s. [2]


... On Tuesday, Albany's backroom dealing cleared the way for the possible Wednesday vote. After an expected marathon session Tuesday to pass a mega deal involving tax, tuition and other issues, the Republican-led Senate now will be able to focus on whether to release a gay marriage bill to the floor for a vote. [3]


Negotiations continue over additional religious protections that some undecided Republicans have sought, and progress appears to have been made in closed-door talks.


... Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Of them, all but Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., allow at least limited religious exemptions.


  • [1] -- Gosh, dozens of states have had public referenda on the matter, and to my knowledge, every one has rejected legalizing same-sex marriage. This would include California, where the losers, as is the habit of leftist losers in the Golden State, are attempting to overturn the expressed will of the majority who cast ballots in 2010. Although I may have missed it, I don't recall that an AP reporter has ever characterized any of those votes as "critical."
  • [2] -- The AP's complimentary description of Common Cause is disgracefully biased and arguably inaccurate, at least if one believes that a "good government" is one that follows its nation's Constitution. Common Cause is better described, as Chris Berg did at BigGovernment.com in April, as a "Free Speech for Me, But Not For Thee" group.

    The group bitterly opposed the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, where the Court's majority ruled that "corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited because of the First Amendment."

    In February, at an event with which Common Cause was associated, protesters, as originally reported at BigGovernment.com and eventually carried at Politico, called "for the lynching of conservative Supreme Court justices," and made "inflammatory and threatening comments about Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as well as Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas." Dan Riehl at Big Government noted that Common Cause's after-the-fact attempts to distance itself from what was said ring hollow: "a review of the official event video proves that Common Cause actually worked to inspire such hate through the selection of official speakers. They cannot simply disown it now."

  • [3] -- How the above description of the legislation's status can be twisted into the AP headline's "GOP Tables Gay Marriage" is a complete mystery.

The AP's headline and Gormley's report seem to be more about making Republicans look bad and backward -- after all, if Common Cause is for "good government," the GOP and opponents of same-sex marriage in general must be for "bad government -- than it is about covering what's really happening in the Empire State's legislature.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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