ABC Describes Activist Court Ruling as ‘New Hope’ for Gay Adoption in Florida

On Wednesday’s World News on ABC, anchor Diane Sawyer briefly reported on a court ruling in Florida which struck down a state law banning the adoption of children by homosexual couples. Ignoring the issue of whether an activist court should make such a ruling, Sawyer seemed to frame the story from a sympathetic point of view for would-be same-sex parents in Florida as she referred to the ruling as "new hope" for such couples. Sawyer: "And there is new hope tonight for gay people in Florida who want to adopt a child. A state appeals court ruled that the 33-year-old ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional. And the governor said that the state will allow the adoptions immediately."

But, while ABC News programs have a history of advocating gay rights, it is ironic that the story was immediately followed by a full report about Bishop Eddie Long, a Georgia pastor accused of pushing teenage boys into homosexual sex. Sawyer set up the report: "And trouble is mounting tonight for the pastor of a 25,000-member mega church near Atlanta. Bishop Eddie Long, who lives a lavish lifestyle and has denounced homosexuality, is accused of coercing three young men into relationships. Steve Osunsami has details of the lawsuits."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 22, World News on ABC:

DIANE SAWYER: And there is new hope tonight for gay people in Florida who want to adopt a child. A state appeals court ruled that the 33-year-old ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional. And the governor said that the state will allow the adoptions immediately.

And trouble is mounting tonight for the pastor of a 25,000-member mega church near Atlanta. Bishop Eddie Long, who lives a lavish lifestyle and has denounced homosexuality, is accused of coercing three young men into relationships. Steve Osunsami has details of the lawsuits.

STEVE OSUNSAMI: Bishop Eddie Long is considered one of the most anti-gay pastors in the country, who once said that homosexuality is a spiritual abortion. If today’s accusations are true, he might regret the day he led thousands through the streets of Atlanta in protest of gays and same-sex marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Woman and woman and man and man, it’s not right. So that’s where I stand on the bishop.

OSUNSAMI: In the lawsuits, filed by three young men he recruited into the youth ministry at his gigantic church outside Atlanta, they describe him as a sexual predator who pushed them into sex, lavished them with expensive gifts, and sent them these photos, texts and e-mails when they were above the legal age of consent, but just 16 and 17 years old. They say he certainly doesn’t look like a bishop here.

B.J. BERNSTEIN, PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: What pastor, in his right mind, sends a picture of himself posing in a bathroom in a muscle shirt? None, none that I know of.

OSUNSAMI: At the funeral of Coretta Scott King, which took place at his church in 2006, some civil rights leaders refused to attend because Long is so anti-gay. And he isn’t just any pastor, he leads one of the largest African-American congregations in the world. This bishop drives a Bentley, and has his own private jet. These young men say that many people in the church who are close to Bishop Long knew what was going on but covered for him and kept quiet for years. In a statement, Long’s attorney says the bishop denies the accusations. His accusers say there were hundreds of young men in his youth ministry, and they believe more of them will come forward. Steve Osunsami, ABC News, Atlanta.