CBS Paints Pro-Traditional Marriage Petitioners as 'Anti-Gay Rights'

<p><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/03/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry... target="_blank"><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/11/2009-11-03-CBSNews-... vspace="3" width="228" align="right" border="0" height="111" hspace="3" /></a>&quot;Should Anti-Gay Rights Petition Signers Be Exposed?&quot; asked <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/03/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry... target="_blank">a teaser headline</a> [screencap shown at right] on CBSNews.com's front page.</p><p>&quot;Hot Topic: Battle Rages in Washington State over Privacy of Petition Signers&quot; the subheader read. </p><p>While the November 3 article itself by staffer Brian Montopoli was balanced -- giving room for a social conservative activist to defend keeping the names and addresses of signatories of the Referendum 71 petition from being made public -- the headline sets the tone for readers to see pro-traditional marriage backers in Washington State as folks motivated to deprive fellow citizens of their &quot;rights.&quot;</p><p>So what does Referendum 71 actually do? According to Montopoli:</p><!--break--><blockquote><p>Voters in Washington state will decide today on a referendum that could effectively roll back <a href="http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/news-view.asp?pressRelease=815&amp;newsT... passed in May</a> to extend domestic partnership rights and responsibilities to gay and lesbian couples similar to those granted married heterosexual couples. </p></blockquote><p>In point of fact, the <a href="http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/r071.pdf" target="_blank">legislation itself</a> is not yet law, and the <a href="http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/referendum.aspx" target="_blank">question before voters</a> in Referendum 71 is whether to approve or reject the enactment of the domestic partnership bill:</p><blockquote><p>The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage. Should this bill be:  Approved ____  Rejected  ____</p></blockquote><p>Far from being &quot;anti-gay&quot;, the petition in question is simply a matter of putting the bill for an up-or-down vote by the electorate. Apparently to CBS News, simply putting the matter before the general public to approve or reject is anti-gay bigotry. </p>

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters