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

"Should Anti-Gay Rights Petition Signers Be Exposed?" asked a teaser headline [screencap shown at right] on's front page.

"Hot Topic: Battle Rages in Washington State over Privacy of Petition Signers" the subheader read. 

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 "rights."

So what does Referendum 71 actually do? According to Montopoli:

Voters in Washington state will decide today on a referendum that could effectively roll back legislation passed in May to extend domestic partnership rights and responsibilities to gay and lesbian couples similar to those granted married heterosexual couples.

In point of fact, the legislation itself is not yet law, and the question before voters in Referendum 71 is whether to approve or reject the enactment of the domestic partnership bill:

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  ____

Far from being "anti-gay", 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.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.