When my "rights" clash with your "beliefs," who should win? Right. That's how the Frame Game is played.
That's why the headline for a New York Times story on gays and Mormons is manipulative in the extreme. "Mormons Seek Golden Mean Between Gay Rights and Religious Beliefs," it says.
"The Frame Game" is tmatt's term for framing the conversation to shape your opinion, perhaps without even realizing it. Fortunately, the Times article itself is better, with the lede framing the issue as "gay rights and religious freedom." Although it could still be construed as rights trumping freedom.
At least the hed is accurate in reporting the balancing act of Mormon leaders: trying to oppose anti-gay discrimination while preserving the right to disagree with gays. In states like Utah -- where pro-gay legislation has stalled for years -- that could make a big difference, the Times says:
But they also called for these same laws, or others, to protect the rights of people who say their beliefs compel them to oppose homosexuality or to refuse service to gay couples. They cited examples of religious opponents of same-sex marriage who have been sanctioned or sued or have lost their jobs.
“Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of a group of church leaders known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “It is one of today’s great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for L.G.B.T. rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals.”
This gets points just for balance. It brings up the conscience issue without belittling it or hinting that it's a cover for bigotry. It directly quotes a church leader, not just a static statement from LDS offices. And it allows Oaks to bring up the irony that many conservatives have cited: gay activists demanding rights for themselves, then denying rights to others.