When it comes to gay issues, the New York Times more and more plays to its urban liberal readership, often tossing away the concept of journalism completely in favor of issuing frothy anecdotes of personal encouragement, like Shaila Dewan’s unjournalistic celebration in Monday’s Metro section of the possible imminent legalization of gay marriage in New York State, “Awaiting a Big Day, and Recalling One in New Paltz – As a Decision on Same-Sex Marriage Nears, Couples Take Pride in a Moment in 2004.”
Jay Blotcher and Brook Garrett are as married as two men can be.
On their dining room table, they have laid out the proof: a New York City certificate of domestic partnership from April 2000, a Vermont certificate of civil union from October 2000, an actual marriage license from California in 2008 and -- perhaps the sentimental favorite, if legally the most anemic -- an affidavit of marriage from that euphoric moment in 2004 when nearby New Paltz, N.Y., became the center of the gay marriage movement.
“Euphoric” for whom? For the couples, yes, but evidently for Times reporters as well.
That was when that village’s mayor, Jason West, then 26, rose to international prominence overnight by solemnizing the marriages of some two dozen gay couples in a parking lot outside the village hall. That was when a trunk full of Champagne went undrunk because everyone was so busy doing interviews for the national news. That was when images of Mr. Garrett blowing kisses became the permanent b-roll for any report about same-sex marriage, used by cable news and Jon Stewart to this day.
As Albany teeters on the brink of legalizing gay marriage in New York, the New Paltz couples have been recalling their winter shotgun wedding as a proud and historic moment. Several of the couples have been following the state legislation, calling senators and making the trip to lobby in Albany.
The profile nature of the piece gave Dewan an excuse not to interrupt the happy couples with opposing views, even when their own rhetoric turned ugly and intolerant:
Mr. van Roestenberg, who split up with Mr. McGowan and has a new partner, runs a picture-perfect organic farm where couples can get married in the apple orchard. It is not fair, he said, that he cannot get married there, too. Mr. van Roestenberg said he was not as diplomatic as he had been in 2004. “Now I’m a little more frank,” he said. “Those religious people are out of their minds. If they don’t believe in evolution and facts and science, they’re not going to believe in gay marriage.”
Meanwhile, the latest edition of the Sunday Magazine devoted a cover story to gays in therapy for conflicts between their sexual identity and their religious beliefs, Mimi Swartz’s “Living the Good Lie,” and an unsympathetic profile of ex-gay activist Michael Glatze.