CNN Also Chronicles The Disappointment of the 'Gay Marriage Plaintiff'

July 7th, 2006 7:56 PM

MRC intern Chadd Clark found that CNN had the same old pattern of centering the day's big state court decisions on "gay marriage" as a ruling for "proponents" first. This report aired Thursday in the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Perhaps the newspapers were merely copying from the CNN stylebook. Or maybe it's the GLAAD stylebook.

John King: "Moving on, though. Proponents of gay marriage are reeling today from a one-two legal punch. Courts in Georgia and in New York State issued new rulings now having an impact on the culture wars. CNN's Allan Chernoff has more from New York. Hi, Allan."

Allan Chernoff, CNN Correspondent: "Hi, John. This was the very first time that New York's highest court had heard a case on the issue of single, of same-sex marriage. And in fact, what ended up happening here is that gay rights advocates were really disappointed because they had such high hopes; they had actually won at the trial level. But of course, the high court did end up upholding the status quo.

Daniel Hernandez, Gay Marriage Plaintiff: "We lost."

Chernoff: "The call from their lawyers this morning came as a blow to Daniel Hernandez and his partner Nevin Cohen. New York's Court of Appeals had rejected the couple's effort to overturn state law so that they can get married."

Hernandez: "This is incredibly disappointing and kind of overwhelming. You know, you sort of live your life thinking that somehow the constitution is supposed to, you know, provide the promises that it does for everyone."

Chernoff: "The couple's lawyer had argued New York's law dictating marriage be between a man and woman violates their right to due process and equal protection under the state constitution. In a 4-2 decision, the court of appeals ruled the law is constitutional and that the state may reserve the right of marriage for couples of the opposite sex who can bear and raise children."

Roberta Kaplan, Lawyer for Plaintiffs: "The scientific evidence that is out there is absolutely uniform and consistent that there's absolutely no difference to children between being raised in a family with a mother and a father."

Chernoff: "In its opinion, the court wrote: 'It is not for us to say whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong.  It's up to the legislature to make any changes in law,' the court said.  Leading politicians in New York differ on the issue."

Gov. George Pataki, New York: "I think the court of appeals made the right decision. Marriage between a man and a woman has been the law of New York State since the beginning of this state."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City: "I have always thought that it is not something that the state should get involved in, that it's not the state's business who you get, who you can marry."

Chernoff: "Gay rights advocates today also suffered a defeat before Georgia's Supreme Court. It ruled in favor of a ban on same- sex marriage that three-quarters of voters had approved as a constitutional amendment."

Gov. Sonny Perdue, Georgia: "The benefits of marriage as affirmed by the people of Georgia are accorded to a man and a woman. That's what the whole issue was about. I don't think it demeans gay Georgians in any other way to that. They are free to work and to live their lives. They are just not free to marry in Georgia."

Chernoff: "Of course, gay rights advocates are going to continue the legal battle. In fact, they have four cases pending in four separate states. Those would be California, Washington, Iowa, and also New Jersey. But Massachusetts right now remains the only state in the Union that actually does permit same-sex marriage, John."

This story is a lot like Amy Goldstein's Washington Post report. The "anti-gay" side is held up by the state's two Republican governors, and no social conservative activists are included.