What a time for Google to get messed up. As I started work on this post, Google News had some kind of technical problem that mixed up the URLs for stories on same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and those on the video decapitation of American Nick Berg. Just what we needed, a computer glitch that combined those subjects. Before long, Google got that all straightened out, so to speak.
Clearly, this is national same-sex marriage day in the land of hypernews. There are too many stories pouring in to read them all. But, strangely enough, they all seem to be copies of the same story. And have there been any confirmed sightings of gay men? The press seems to have decided that this is primarily a lesbian story.
The New York Times continues to flood the zone on this issue, as well it should. However, it is interesting to note that the initial report has almost zero material reflecting the views of those opposed to same-sex marriage. Perhaps this has become an issue in which there is only one side to report (or at least until Pat Robertson speaks out).
The ghost of religion does show up when reporters Pam Belluck and Kate Zezima pause to survey some of the events that set this media storm into motion.
The stage for today's cultural watershed was set in November, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled, in a lawsuit brought by seven same-sex couples, that gays and lesbians had a constitutional right to marry. The court set May 17 as the day the marriages could begin, and told the state Legislature to take whatever action it saw fit to comply with the court's ruling.
But the Legislature, with a large number of Democrats who are against gay marriage, some because of their Catholic faith, was not pleased with the court's 4-to-3 decision. First, the legislators voted to ask the court if allowing civil unions would comply with the ruling. In a bitingly dismissive response in February, the court said no.
You can tell that this is a religious issue, because the Times notes that the "marathon constitutional conventions" called to deal with the crisis were "marked by emotional oratory." Still, it is interesting to note that this was the rare Sexual Revolution battle that could divide Democrats. It would also be interesting to investigate how this issue is shaping up in different ethnic groups. Perhaps journalists will turn to stories such as these after the initial blitz of coverage.
Meanwhile, I would like to make a request of our readers. We cannot read everything that rolls in today with this cyber-flood. Please alert us to hard news stories in mainstream media -- not commentaries -- that you believe did a fine job of covering both sides of this highly complex and divisive issue. Let us know if you see examples of journalism that digs beyond the carefully planned photo-ops and sound bites.
We look forward to hearing from you. Help us spot the ghosts.
UPDATE: As you would expect, Ted Olsen and the amazing CTi Weblog crew have a solid cyber-list up and running of today's same-sex marriage articles and commentaries.