All the Sin That's Fit to Print

In democracies, cultural revolutions usually arrive in baby steps. Proposed radical political change through governmental action is normally repulsed or, if enacted, soon rejected. Political movements are better advised to first change the culture, to force social change through society's institutions of education and information, in schools, entertainment, and the news media. They succeed when they create the impression that the unpopular trend they're pushing is historically inevitable, and resistance is futile.

Such is the gay left's attempt to water down the definition of marriage until it has no unique meaning.

The idea of gay "marriage" is opposed by the vast majority of Americans. If the central point of politics were merely the empirical search of an opinion "mainstream," gay "marriage" is clearly a mile from it, an oxymoron in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In every state where gay activists have tried to force it on the public, even in oh-so-progressive Hawaii, it has gone down in flaming defeat. The hard-nosed political agenda isn't working.

But the cultural revolution is. America's news and entertainment companies don't swim in the "mainstream," but they can use their power to try and define it as starkly opposed to reality. Not only have they succumbed to the revolutionary juices flowing, they have been convinced to take on heroic roles of "leadership" in the cultural revolution. The latest example is the former "Weddings" pages in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. Beginning next month, they will be renamed "Weddings/Celebrations," in order also to celebrate the domestic partnerships of gay couples as long as there is a ceremony and some shred of official paper (a Vermont "civil union" certificate or a domestic-partner filing with New York City.)

In the official announcement of this change, Times editor Howell Raines tried to declare "We recognize that the society remains divided about the legal and religious definition of marriage, and our news columns will remain impartial in that debate." This should be the part of the story where the faithful reader stops to spit and giggle. Like many other mediums, the Times has been robotically pro-gay, and its new policy is anything but impartial.

What the paper that reports all that's fit to print did not say came out in other New York newspapers: The Times was the subject of a prolonged lobbying campaign. In December, officials from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association met with Times publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, who's been extremely gay-friendly. In April, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation met with Managing Editor Gerald Boyd as part of their "Announcing Equality" campaign. Their lobbying efforts ultimately succeeded.

Some media analysts like Keith Woods of the Poynter Institute say the newspapers who have chosen to celebrate gay unions are not reflecting a newspaper's "politics," but merely reflecting their community's opinion. Certainly in New York City social liberalism is aggressive. The city is so liberal it is now known as a mecca for those who want to force medical students to receive abortion training, even if they find the procedure immoral. Forced acceptance of homosexuality as normal is the next wave of cultural intimidation, and the Times is dutifully leading the way. But the vast majority of even that city still reject the radical gay agenda; but there's no room for that community's voice is ignored, that most certainly being a reflection of the newspaper's "politics."

Those who might tread lightly as the celebration of grave sin deepens should consider that homosexual activists think same-sex "marriage" is the most important political step toward full acceptance. Last spring, a poll by James Zogby and the GLCensus Partners surveyed over 1500 self-identified homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals, and found that by far, the top goal of the gay movement was the legal recognition of same-sex marriage: 47 percent of respondents listed it as the top goal, and 83 percent selected it as one of the top three goals. Fighting employment discrimination is way behind, with only 16 percent citing it as a top goal.

Gay activists argue the "celebration" notices are merely a matter of fairness, of recognizing that anywhere two people of whatever gender decide to share a loving relationship deserves society's respect. The New York Times is clearly embracing this position in the culture war, using their packages of newsprint and ink multiplied by the millions to boldly state that marriage requires no gender distinctions; to reject the supremacy of the natural combination of male and female strengths in marriage; and to thumb its nose at apparently quaint notions of God's judgment and sacred scriptures as if they were yesterday's bird-cage liners. Truly moderate media watchers, even the many conservatives who instinctively shirk at a homosexuality debate, should acknowledge the obvious: by taking this radical step, even the Times should concede it's no impartial observer of the culture. The Times is promoting all the sin they think is fit to print.