Florida Politics

Out of the (water) closet: New York Times surveys backlash on Obama 'bathroom' order

Out of the (water) closet: New York Times surveys backlash on Obama 'bathroom' order

The pushback against the Obama administration's latest directive, to open all school bathrooms and locker rooms to transgender people -- using federal funding as a bit of blackmail -- gets a broad indepth article from the New York Times.

But the Gray Lady raises more questions than she answers -- and doesn't ask some that she should.

The story draws broadly from several front lines. It tells of a march in rural Georgia and a demonstration in Fort Worth over the issue.  Also a vow by the school district in Marion County, Fla., to fight a complaint from the ACLU. And eight states have sided with North Carolina in its legal fight with the federal government, which is suing the Tar Heel State over its bathroom law.

And -- an important fact -- the paper reveals that everyone is pretty much arguing blind about transgender regulations:

Advocates on both sides said they suspect that most school districts did not have explicit policies defining gender. There are districts that allow transgender students to use the facilities that match their identities, and districts that prohibit it, but no definitive count of either group.

The article is thickly referenced with seven linked articles, most of them from the Times itself. But in contrast to many roundup-style pieces, this one adds new info and interviews. It includes at least 10 quoted sources, including interviews and a press conference with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas. And the opinions represent not only both sides, but a few points in between.

Unfortunately, some of the quotes amount to mere posturing:

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Shutting 'you' up again: On religious freedom, Florida Politics team ignores key voices

Shutting 'you' up again: On religious freedom, Florida Politics team ignores key voices

They're talking about "you" again.

They, as in "mainstream media." You, as in "person who takes your faith seriously."

When church meets state these days -- as with a pastor protection bill in the Florida legislature -- newsmen want to talk about what others think about you. But too often, they don’t want to talk to you.

The above story, in Florida Politics, deals with a bill that would shield clergy from performing gay weddings. Efforts to pass such bills is a trend in several states since the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. The publication sets a pro-con stage:

The Florida House voted 82-37 to approve a bill that allows members of the clergy to refuse to perform gay marriages.
The passage came after more than an hour of passionate debate. Opponents questioned why the bill (HB 43) was needed, with some calling it an insult to the state’s gay community.
"This bill is about discriminating in the name of religion, sadly," said Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Florida House. "It is an insult to the gay community."

The story does, of course, include quotes from politicians who support the bill because politics is important. Politics is real.

Rep. Scott Plakon, the Longwood Republican sponsoring the measure, said the measure offers protections to "pastors ... that have concerns" about gay marriage. The proposal protects clergy, churches and religious organizations and their employees from civil action for refusing to perform gay marriages.

Please respect our Commenting Policy