Justice Is Swerved
If "fair and balanced" is too much to ask for, how about "honest and factual?" The mainstream press hasn't seemed interested in either since last Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its pair of rulings on marriage.
Thanks to a new Pew Research study, we know that media bias isn't a figment of our imagination -- especially when it comes to marriage. And for the past five days, the major outlets have set out to prove Pew right with embarrassing coverage and half-truths that only tell part of the story. Even former solicitor general Ted Olson, who joined CBS's "Face the Nation" on the same segment as I did, tried to paint the Proposition 8 case -- which the Court dismissed -- as a victory of historic proportions.
The reality is, five justices did not, as Ted Olson implied, redefine marriage in all 50 states. Even in California, where same-sex couples raced to the altar before the ink was even dry on Wednesday's opinions, the Supreme Court simply punted the issue back to the states. In the meantime, the media seems intent on creating the appearance that both rulings were far more sweeping than the justices intended.
While headlines try to feed this notion that same-sex "marriage" is inevitable, the real stories are slipping through the cracks. In California, for instance, the Ninth Circuit Court created plenty of legal pandemonium when it agreed to lift its stay of Proposition 8 prematurely. Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court's formal judgment to take effect (a process that usually takes 25 days), the judges for the Ninth Circuit ignored the law and gave the green light for state officials to start licensing same-sex "weddings" -- without ever having the authority to do so!
As FRC's Ken Klukowski pointed out, "Despite the Ninth Circuit having been explicitly informed by the Supreme Court that the higher court had not yet issued its order, and that at least 25 days would pass before such an order would be received, and all lawyers on both sides of the case were likewise informed, the Ninth Circuit dissolved its stay... striking down Prop 8, and gay 'marriage' began literally within minutes." In other words, the Ninth Circuit Court stopped the enforcement of Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court waiting period was up!
ProtectMarriage.com, the organization that sued on behalf of the 7,000,000 Californians who voted for the marriage amendment, was stunned. "People on both sides of this debate should at least agree that the courts must follow their own rules," said Andy Pugno, the group's chief counsel. John Eastman, a renowned legal scholar and professor at Chapman University, was equally frustrated. "It's part and parcel of the utter lawlessness in which this whole case has been prosecuted. Normally, courts let the parties kind of pursue their legal remedies before they issue a mandate," he said. "[A]nyone who is concerned about the rule of law ought to be deeply troubled by what happened here." Yet the media, instead of reporting this outrage, acts as if the amendment is null and void -- ignoring the fact that the Ninth Circuit Court acted illegally to impose same-sex "marriage" on the state.
While the two sides try to sort through the chaos these judges created, the people of California will have to turn their attention to protecting the millions of people who object to homosexual "marriage." There, people are about to experience (if they haven't already) the profound loss of liberty that accompanies this march down the same-sex "wedding" aisle. Yesterday, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer -- like so many Americans -- was surprised to hear that business owners (and wedding vendors in particular) are being persecuted, and in some cases prosecuted, for refusing to participate in a same-sex "marriage" ceremony. (Video below.) "I must say this is under my radar," Bob told me. "I haven't -- I haven't heard this." And he's not alone.
The media isn't covering the stories of these victims -- not because they don't exist -- but because liberals recognize their potential to swing the debate. The Left's totalitarian tactics continue to trump the First Amendment rights of wedding vendors and others who were fired, sued, harassed, fined, and suspended for their beliefs. Don't believe us? Read the stories for yourself:
- Sweet Cakes by Melissa (Oregon)
- Just Cookies (Indiana)
- Masterpiece Cakes (Colorado)
- Victoria's Cake Cottage (Iowa)
- Fleur Cakes (Oregon)
- Elane Photography (New Mexico)
- Aloha Bed and Breakfast (Hawaii)
- Arlene's Flowers (Washington)
- Liberty Ridge Farm (New York)
- All Occasion Party Place (Texas)
- Wildflower Inn (Vermont)
- Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (New Jersey)
- Hands On Originals (Kentucky)
- Dr. Angela McCaskill (Gallaudet University, Maryland)
- Crystal Dixon (University of Toledo,Ohio)
Heartland Passes Heartbeat Bill
Being compared to Texas is a compliment, especially when it comes to pro-life policy. Yesterday, leaders in Ohio took tremendous pride in the two states' similarities when Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards fumed about the Buckeyes' major victories for the unborn, claiming that "Texas lit a fuse."
Like Governor Perry (R) in Texas, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) closed out the legislative session by making tremendous strides against abortion and for women and the unborn in his state. The new Ohio budget act, which takes effect today, cuts off more than $1.4 million in Planned Parenthood funding and redirects some of that money to the state's pro-life pregnancy care centers.
Also signed into law were three powerful checks on Ohio's abortion industry, including a new measure demanding that clinics have a transfer agreement with a hospital in case abortion patients need additional care. That extra layer of security immediately puts Planned Parenthood and other facilities in a bind since the state outlaws those partnerships with public hospitals. Under the bill, doctors must also perform ultrasounds on women before an abortion -- and tell mothers if they detect a heartbeat. To counter some of the misinformation spread by Planned Parenthood, Ohio leaders also require doctors to tell women the truth about the "likelihood of her baby surviving to full term." Last, but certainly not least, the bill defines a "fetus" as "developing from the moment of conception," giving legal weight to a baby's personhood from the earliest stage.
FRC's Ken Blackwell, who also chairs the Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition, was part of the broad alliance that helped make these pro-life protections a reality. Together with Janet Porter and our good friend Phil Burress from Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, we celebrate the grassroots team that made Ohio one of the safest places in America for a child in the womb!
** The wave of pro-life legislation isn't just sweeping the states, it's making its mark in Congress too -- most recently with the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. USA Today reached out to FRC for Anna Higgins's take on the 20-week abortion limit, which you can read here.
*** Check out my take on the Supreme Court's bombshells in a new Christian Post piece, "A New Dawn for the Defense of Marriage."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.