AP Misleads With Headline About Rhode Island Recognizing Gay Unions

February 22nd, 2007 9:07 AM

Talk about a blatant attempt to mislead with a headline! We have no better example of such an effort than one by the AP today. It is a textbook case of a headline that does not fit the facts of the story.

Here is the headline:

R.I. to recognize gay unions performed in Mass.

Wow! It would be big news, indeed, if legislation had been passed wherein Gay Unions from Massachusetts were to be officially recognized by Rhode Island. And, if one were to read this AP headline and move on, one would be left with the impression that it had. Even the sub head doesn't really tell the whole truth.

State’s attorney general says there’s no reason to deny them recognition

But upon reading the story it is revealed that there has been no ruling, no law, and no such recognition of Mass. Gay Unions by Rhode Island at all. Instead, it was just the empty words of Rhode Island's Attorney General. Just his speculation that it could happen if the issue were to be pressed.

The short story starts with this line:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch says his state should recognize the gay marriages of state employees performed in Massachusetts.

And ends with this one:

Lynch spokesman Michael Healey says the opinion is not binding, but a staff attorney for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders says she expects most government agencies in Rhode Island to heed the legal advice of the state’s top lawyer.

And in between is the rather loose reasoning by this public servant speaking out off turn:

And because there’s no Rhode Island law banning gay marriage -- Lynch says there’s no reason to deny recognition of same-sex unions performed in Massachusetts.

But the headline does say R.I. to recognize gay unions. TO recognize. Not could, or might, or even should. But TO recognize. Yet there is no such law mandating such a recognition. Just the speculation made by Attny. General Lynch.

Yet, the AP's headline makes it seem as if it is a settled decision. That R.I. is going to proceed with this "recognizing".

Just another example of how untrustworthy the AP truly is.