Picking Sides: ABC Offers a Slanted Take on 'Historic Hearing on Marriage Equality'

The reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a one-sided take on the Supreme Court's "historic hearing on marriage equality." The morning show featured four voices in support of the high court affirming gay marriage and just one against. Correspondent Terry Moran framed the issue in emotional terms: "Outside the Supreme Court overnight a candlelight vigil for proponents of same-sex marriage. It's a debate that touches countless American families." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Moran included a snippet of plaintiff Paul Katami: "Anyone who has ever fallen in love out there knows you don't choose who you fall in love with. You just fall in love." He highlighted a crowd chanting, "No more hate! No more hate!" Same sex marriage supporter Kris Perry insisted, "We're expected to contribute and pay taxes, parent, live up to all the other expectations of everybody else but we're missing this one key fundamental right which is just to be married."

The only opposition came when Moran talked to Nate Oppman. He asserted, "I'm a huge supporter of marriage. I'm a Christian and I hold the traditional biblical values." This lasted all of seven seconds.

The ABC journalist ended the segment on emotional terms: "...So many millions of gay people have stood up and told their stories to their families." Highlighting Chief Justice John Robert's gay cousin and motioning to the court behind him, Moran added, "The families in here too."

Later, in a news brief, Josh Elliott used the language of the left, referring to "today's historic hearing on marriage equality." Elliott has made no effort to hide where he stands on gay marriage. On May 24, 2012, Elliott spoke at a Gay and Lesbian Alliance Defamation (GLAAD) dinner and declared, "I'm proud to work at a place that believes in advocacy journalism!"

A transcript of the March 26 segments follow:


7:09 ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: And now to the Supreme Court where history will be made when the justices hear arguments this morning on whether gay marriage is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Spectators have been lining up outside the court for days and our court expert, Nightline anchor Terry Moran, is there too. Good morning, Terry.

TERRY MORAN: Good morning, George. It's a lot nicer out here for the hundreds of people who waiting in line for days for a seat inside and this is the day, the day that so many millions of Americans have waited and struggled for. Others have looked toward with concern and anxiety because in just a few hours, in that court, the six men and three women of the Supreme Court will take up the huge issue, what is the meaning of marriage in America today and does it include our fellow citizens who are gay? Outside the Supreme Court overnight a candlelight vigil for proponents of same-sex marriage. It's a debate that touches countless American families and in the line outside the court for one of the 60 or so seats inside, a line that began last Thursday, that great debate continues.

JASON WONACOTT (Same sex marriage supporter): Yeah, I would hope to get married because I'm a gay man and I'm from California, so I would like to get married in my home state.

NATE OPPMAN (Prop 8 supporter): I'm a huge supporter of marriage. I'm a Christian and I hold the traditional biblical values.

CROWD CHANTING: No more hate! No more hate!

MORAN: At issue today, California's Proposition 8, passed in 2008 defining marriage in that state as only and forever the union of one man, one woman. Paul Katami and his partner Jeff Zarrillo decided to take the state to court.

PAUL KATAMI (Same-sex marriage supporter): Anyone who has ever fallen in love out there knows you don't choose who you fall in love with. You just fall in love. There is no choice in the matter. It just happens.

MORAN: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier will also be in court today fighting to overturn California's ban on gay marriage.

KRIS PERRY (Same sex marriage supporter): Right now, Sandy and I are really treated like second class citizens in this state. We're expected to contribute and pay taxes, parent, live up to all the other expectations of everybody else but we're missing this one key fundamental right which is just to be married.

MORAN: You know what, this issue is changing in the American mind so fast and the reason is that so many millions of gay people have stood up and told their stories to their families. The families in here too. Chief justice John Roberts has a cousin who has come out this week to say, "I love my cousin. I hope he'll do the right thing." So the kinds of debates that are happening in families and workplaces around the country happen up there too.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right. And she got the ticket from the chief justice. Thanks very much.

8:03 ET

JOSH ELLIOTT: Meanwhile, back here at home a hot ticket in the country. A seat inside the Supreme Court for today's historic hearing on marriage equality. The high court's first major examination of gay rights in some ten years now involves California's voter approved ban on same-sex marriage. Spectators have been lined up since last Thursday. Some paying place holders up to $6,000 for a guaranteed seat inside that courtroom.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org