Oops! AP Suggests There's 'No Evidence' That Students Will Take Field Trips to Gay Nuptials

Reporters at the Associated Press are clearly unhappy that Maine voters turned out to refuse to honor "gay marriage" at the ballot box. An AP dispatch two days ago by Lisa Leff and David Sharp suggested conservatives are misleading voters with charges that have "no evidence," like students going on a field trip to a lesbian wedding.

Are they that factually challenged at AP? From Fox News on October 13, 2008, just weeks before the vote on California’s Proposition 8:

First-graders in San Francisco took a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the marriage of their lesbian teacher on Friday, but opponents of same-sex marriage in the state say the field trip was an attempt to "indoctrinate" the students, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The field trip was suggested by a parent at the Creative Arts Charter School, and the school said the trip, where students tossed rose petals on their teacher and her wife as they left City Hall, was academically relevant.

"It really is what we call a teachable moment," said Liz Jaroslow, the school’s interim director, according to the newspaper. She said same-sex marriage had historic significance. "I think I'm well within the parameters."

Since this happened before California voters rejected gay marriage, it could be argued that leftist teachers will take public-school students on these field trips regardless of the way the public votes. But Leff and Sharp suggested:

In Maine and California, voters were besieged with ad images of what would supposedly happen if same-sex marriage were legal: students going on a field trip to a lesbian wedding, elementary school kids reading books featuring gay couples, kindergartners learning about homosexuality from their teachers -- all without any say from parents.

Critics assailed the messages as blatantly misleading fear-mongering.

"It's drawing on the fears of the unknown," said Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Maine's Colby College. "There's no evidence that it's going to happen, but there's very clear evidence that it's an effective campaign tactic."

Maisel's probably angry because he looks a little silly for writing in April on The Huffington Post

I guarantee that Maine will pass the Gay Marriage bill. I hope and believe that the legislature will pass it this year, but I know it will be law eventually. Social progress moves in only one direction -- forward.

Leff and fellow AP reporter David Crary also suggested distaste for negative ads in a story last Wednesday, which began: "Stunned and angry, national gay rights leaders Wednesday blamed scare-mongering ads — and President Barack Obama's lack of engagement — for a bitter election setback in Maine that could alter the dynamics for both sides in the gay-marriage debate."

Leff and Sharp of AP also played a little cute in suggesting hardened radical lobbyists are simply your average lesbian on the street:

Cathy Renna, a public relations consultant in Washington who is married to a woman and has a 4-year-old daughter, said that equating references to gay parents with sex is "like saying that introducing someone's mother and father to a class means you are talking about heterosexual sex."

"This idea that gay people are coming to eat your children is a long-standing tactic of the right wing," she said.

That’s more than a little harsh. Leff and Sharp failed to identify Renna properly. She is not merely a PR consultant; she was a long-time executive at the left-wing Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation – a funny title for a group that would suggest conservatives say "gay people are coming to eat your children."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis