WashPost Promotes Gay Marriage in Virginia With 'Aggressively Normal' Lesbian Tableau; Opponents Ignored

The Washington Post is quite explicit: It’s a publicity organ for the gay lobby. They put the fight for gay marriage in Virginia on the front page Monday – and on the front page of the Style section. In about 3,000 words of reporting, there’s not a single social conservative named and quoted in it. There's no debate, only the inevitable and "historic" winners.

The Style article was just the latest in a long trail of plaintiff puff pieces headlined “A Virginia family has three loving warriors in the fight for gay marriage.” Style writer Richard Leiby oozed that 16-year-old Emily Schall-Townley bounced into the room in “a spontaneous scene in an aggressively normal Richmond suburb,” as if there’s anything spontaneous about an interview with plaintiffs vetted and selected by gay activists, as Leiby himself explained:

[Mary] Townley and [Carol] Schall joined the case in September, after answering an e-mail from the Human Rights Campaign that asked couples to share their stories. Their essay led to recruitment as plaintiffs to join a suit initially filed by Timothy Bostic and Tony London. The men, who have lived together for more than 20 years, were denied a marriage license in Norfolk last summer.


The women strengthened the case because they could challenge Virginia’s refusal to recognize their lawful California marriage or any other form of civil union. They also would seem to embody the argument that their parenting of Emily has caused no harm — and, as Schall says, “it would be in Emily’s best interest to have two legal parents.”

Judge [Arenda] Wright Allen’s order forcefully swept aside what she called the “for the children” arguments against same-sex marriage. “Gay and lesbian couples are as capable as other couples of raising well-adjusted children,” she wrote.

Virginia law has “needlessly stigmatized and humiliated” such kids, her order said, and went on to cite Emily Schall-Townley (referred to by initials only), who, “like the thousands of children being raised by same-sex couples, is needlessly deprived of the protection, the stability, the recognition and the legitimacy that marriage conveys.”

Leiby might protest that the conservatives drew a minimal (but impersonal and unnamed) mention:

Traditional-marriage supporters say the state must protect children from same-sex unions and that heterosexual parents provide “optimal child-rearing.”

Duly excused by her principal, Emily, a sophomore, says she will be in the Richmond courthouse to hear arguments Tuesday, just as she has been at other hearings and seen gay-marriage protesters marching, preaching and waving placards that say, “Children Do Best with a Mom and a Dad.”

It's almost indistinguishable from the earlier puff piece on "weirdly normal" Emily in the gay newspaper The Washington Blade. And the even earlier puff piece on the "normal family" in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. There aren't any "real people" on the other side of the debate.

The totally one-sided front-pager by Robert Barnes described internal sniping between the gay leftists at the ACLU and Lambda Legal versus the American Foundation for Equal Rights, with the dynamic legal duo of David Boies and (pseudoconservative) Ted Olson and how they proved "irresistible" to the (liberal) media:

Backed by Hollywood activists and fundraisers, the conservative Republican Olson and the liberal Democrat Boies, who represented opposite sides in Bush v. Gore, became an irresistible attraction for the news media when they shrugged off warnings from longtime activists that they were moving too quickly.

The two prevailed when, after a highly publicized trial, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled for the first time that a voter-approved state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Olson made no apology for the attention the case got. “The more attention you bring to this issue, the more people understand what the human dimensions are of discrimination,” he said in an interview last week....

The outsider status of AFER and the Olson-Boies team has been amplified by reaction to a new book, "Forcing the Spring," by former Washington Post and current New York Times reporter Jo Becker, who had inside access to the Proposition 8 team to chronicle its efforts.

The book has received critical praise, but it deepened divisions in the gay legal establishment over the duo. (Those divisions could grow next month when Olson and Boies publish their book on the case, "Redeeming the Dream." There is also an HBO documentary about the case.)

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