Boo Hoo: New York Times Says Marriage Ruling 'Came as a Shocking Insult' to Gay Groups

Today's New York Times leads off with a local story with national ramifications, a 4-2 defeat of gay marriage in the Court of Appeals of New York, the state's highest court.

Anemona Hartocollis reports:

"New York's highest court rejected yesterday a broad attempt by gay and lesbian couples across the state to win the right to marry under state law, saying that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the State Constitution.

"By a 4-2 majority, the Court of Appeals found that the State Legislature, in laws dating back nearly 100 years, intended to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, and that the Legislature had a rational basis for doing so."

Hartocollis throws in this puzzler:

“The decision comes at a time when the country is deeply divided over the issue of gay marriage. Surveys show that a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, but that when the word ‘marriage’ is not used in poll questions, people are more sympathetic to gay and lesbian issues, according to Public Agenda, a policy research group.”

The New York late edition hard copy fails to include the dubious sentence about surveys.

The idea that the country is "deeply divided" on gay marriage is inaccurate enough. As the Washington Post reports this morning, the country is in fact deeply against same-sex marriage:

"The lawsuits have arisen at a time when 45 states have laws or constitutional amendments -- many of them recent -- that forbid same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses."

Local coverage includes more stories from the pro-gay perspective. Andrew Jacobs's "Disappointed, Gay Couples Seem Resigned To Long Fight" begins:

"So much for the rented yacht, the salsa band and the twilight ceremony in New York Harbor that would have celebrated the union of Alice Muniz and Oneida Garcia. The Court of Appeals decision yesterday that quashed immediate hopes for same-sex marriage also dashed the plans of thousands of gay and lesbian New Yorkers. The platinum engagement rings will stay on their hands, but Ms. Muniz and Ms. Garcia must postpone the wedding they were planning."

Chief New York political reporter Patrick Healy contributes a "news analysis," "For Movement, A Key Setback -- Activists Must Decide To Press On or Retreat."

The online front-page teaser to Healy's story makes the political personal:

"Thursday's court ruling against gay marriage in New York came as a shocking insult to gay rights groups."

Of course, the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan, which rejected Bush’s attempt to try detainees, was an insult to conservatives, but the Times didn’t focus on the travails of the losing side, instead gushing over the winners.

Here's Times Supreme court reporter Linda Greenhouse on the justice who wrote for the anti-Bush majority in Hamdan:

"In the courtroom on Thursday, the chief justice sat silently in his center chair as Justice Stevens, sitting to his immediate right as the senior associate justice, read from the majority opinion. It made for a striking tableau on the final day of the first term of the Roberts court: the young chief justice, observing his work of just a year earlier taken apart point by point by the tenacious 86-year-old Justice Stevens, winner of a Bronze Star for his service as a Navy officer in World War II."

Here's Healy, in somber contrast:

"When Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in November 2003, gay rights advocates imagined a chain reaction that would shake marriage laws until same-sex couples across the nation had the legal right to wed. Nowhere did gay marriage seem like a natural fit more than New York, where the Stonewall uprising of 1969 provided inspiration for the gay rights movement and where a history of spirited progressivism had led some gay couples to envision their own weddings someday.

"Yesterday's court ruling against gay marriage was more than a legal rebuke, then -- it came as a shocking insult to gay rights groups. Leaders said they were stunned by both the rejection and the decision's language, which they saw as expressing more concern for the children of heterosexual couples than for the children of gay couples. They also took exception to the ruling's description of homosexuality as a preference rather than an orientation."

For more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.

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