CNSNews.com's coverage of the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act was highly biased to the point of bordering on homophobic.
By Terry Krepel Posted 2/6/2023
CNSNews.com -- in particular, homophobicmanagingeditor Michael W. Chapman -- does not like the idea of gay marriage, and it likes even less that its fellow right-wing ideologues are refusing to hate gay marriage as much as it does. (Reduced right-wing anti-LGBT hate is something it has previously complained about). So when gay marriage became an issue again this summer when right-wing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade that the Obergefell ruling that legalized gay marriage should be overturned as well, CNS was shocked to find that Republicans were not rushing to embrace that view. An anonymously written July 20 article, under the headline "47 Republicans Vote to Enshrine Homosexual Marriage in Federal Law," felt the need to name the names of the Republicans who deviated from right-wing ideology:
Forty-seven Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined 220 Democrats on Tuesday in voting to enshrine homosexual marriage into federal law.
The “Respect for Marriage Act” was passed 267-157 by the House with 7 members not voting.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, is designed to be a backstop if the Supreme Court someday issues a decision overturning Obergefell vs. Hodges, the 2015 opinion in which the court declared that the 14th Amendment had created a right for two people of the same sex to marry each other.
The 47 Republicans who voted to enshrine same-sex marriage in federal law included Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming; Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York; Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota; Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida; Rep. Ken Calvert of California; Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York; and Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida.
Yes, the anonymous writer insisted on using "homosexual marriage," even though it's a term that no normal human uses in real life.
Two days later, an article by summer intern Janey Olohan tried to corner Republican Sen. John Cornyn with a gotcha question noting the House passage of the bill: "Do you believe that a baby has a right to a mother? Or are two fathers just as good as a mother and a father?” Cornyn apparently disappointed CNS by answering that “It’s already the law of the land. I think it’s a contrived issue because the Supreme Court decided the issue, so I don’t see any reason for the Congress to act," which may explain why no other member of Congress was asked the same question.
When more Republicans came out in favor of gay marriage, Chapman was so outraged that he wrote two articles about it that basically said the same thing. In a Sept. 12 article, Chapman groused:
More than 400 former and current GOP officials have signed a letter backing the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and legally recognize gay marriage as valid under state law. The Supreme Court already ruled (in 2015) that same-sex marriage is legal and this bill would essentially codify that ruling into federal law.
The Democrat-dominant House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on July 19. The legislation is now in the Senate, which is split 50-50 Democrat-Republican. Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to sign onto the bill to attain the 60 votes needed to surpass a filibuster.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Me.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) are co-sponsors of the bill. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) supports the legislation, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has indicated she backs gay marriage.
The new letter signed by GOP officials in support of the Respect for Marriage Act was produced by Centerline Action and Conservatives Against Discrimination.
For reasons that are unclear, Chapman felt the need to write this article again two days later. This time, though, he made sure to put "gay marriage" in scare quotes and added more names:
More than 400 prominent Republicans have signed on to a letter in support of "gay marriage" and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect such couplings in federal law and repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
News of the letter surfaced on Monday, Sept. 12, and the list of names was released today by Centerline Action, a new organization that describes itself as being "focused on forging consensus to advance centrist policy solutions capable of defending core constitutional freedoms and liberties, preserving a free market economy, and limiting the role of government in Americans’ everyday lives."
Chapman went on to his "some of the 400-plus names of prominent Republicans who support 'gay marriage'" -- which seems to be putting his hatred of LGBT people ahead of fair and efficient journalism.
At least 108 liberal Jewish organizations have signed on to a letter to U.S. senators expressing their strong support for the "Respect for Marriage Act," which would codify gay marriage into federal law. This position, however, is strongly opposed by many orthodox and traditional rabbis who say gay marriage is contrary to Judaism.
In a letter to all 100 senators, the Union for Reform Judaism, Keshet, and 108 other Jewish organizations said, "On behalf of the 110 undersigned national, state, and local Jewish organizations, we write to express our support for the Respect for Marriage Act (S.4556). Driven by our Jewish values, we are committed to supporting laws that protect the civil rights and individual liberties of all people."
According to the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing more than 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, gay marriage is incompatible with Jewish teaching.
According to the Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the CJV, told CNS News in June, "Marriage is described in Genesis as directly connected to having children. So even without reference to clear prohibitions in Leviticus, it is obvious that a same-sex union is foreign to Judaism.”
The Book of Genesis, part of the Torah, teaches, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'"
Note that Chapman didn't hang a political label on the CJV like he did the "liberal" groups, describing it only as "traditional" and "orthodox."Chapman also copy-and-pasted a list of the groups at the end of his article, like he did with the Republicans who support the bill.
Susan Jones complained that the bill was moving forward in a Nov. 16 article, keeping up CNS' weird attacks the Democratic Senate majority leader over his non-heterosexual daughter while throwing a little shade at a Republican who was not being homophobic enough:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Tuesday that Democrats plan to move ahead with their agenda in the lame-duck session and beyond, on a "bipartisan basis" where possible.
First up is the so-called "Respect for Marriage Act," a bill that would codify same-sex marriage.
"I know passing the Respect for Marriage Act is as personal as it gets for many senators and their staffs, myself included," Schumer said.
"My daughter and her wife are actually expecting a little baby in February. And so, it matters a lot to so many of us to get this done, and we're going to hold our first procedural vote on the bill tomorrow (Wednesday). After that, I hope that both sides can work quickly together and move this bill forward on to the president's desk."
(Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on Tuesday he "hasn't announced" how he'll vote on the marriage bill.)
After the bill passed the Senate, Jones ramped up the rage in a Nov. 17 article, again calling out Republicans by name who refused to march in lockstep with CNS' homophobia:
In a statement someone wrote for him on Wednesday, President Joe Biden hailed the Senate's 62-37 vote to advance the "Respect for Marriage Act," a bill that says no state may prohibit marriage between two individuals on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
The bill codifies same-sex marriage, a right conferred by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.
"Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love," Biden said in his statement.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian Wisconsin Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, said Wednesday's vote gives "millions of loving couples the certainty, dignity, and respect that they need and deserve."
The Republicans voting to advance the bill are: Roy Blunt of Missouri; Richard Burr of North Carolina; Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; Susan Collins of Maine; Joni Ernst of Iowa; Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Rob Portman of Ohio; Mitt Romney of Utah; Dan Sullivan of Alaska; Thom Tillis of North Carolina; and Todd Young of Indiana.
Jones refused to identify any of the people who came out against the bill as "heterosexual" the way she identified Baldwin as a "lesbian."
An anonymously written Nov. 17 article quoted Republican Sen. Mitt Romney supporting the bill, which made sure to describe him as "the losing Republican presidential nominee in 2012." This was followed by an article by Lauren Shank featuring GOP Sen. James Lankford disparaging the bill while including no disparaging descriptions of him. A Nov. 21 article by Shank was a fairness-free roundup of right-wing attacks on the bill:
The U.S. Senate voted 62-37 on Nov. 16 to invoke cloture and move forward to a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act. While 12 Republican senators voted in favor of cloture, conservatives denounced the bill as an attack on religious liberty, particularly for individuals.
If signed into law, which President Biden is expected to do, the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and essentially codify “gay marriage” into federal law. For federal purposes, marriage would no longer be defined as being between one man and one woman.
"Gay marriage" was declared constitutional by a liberal majority (5-4) of the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. In a dissent, conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote that "the Constitution leaves that question" of marriage "to be decided by the people of each State," not by the federal government.
"The Constitution says nothing about a right to same-sex marriage," wrote Alito. "Today's decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences."
An article by Shank later that day attacked the Mormon Church for supporting the bill -- and, unlike her previous article, featured an opposing view:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which abandoned polygamy in the 1890s, announced on Nov. 15 that it supports the pro-LGBTQ Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies “gay marriage” into federal law. The Mormon church in a statement said, “We believe this approach is the way forward.”
While the Utah-based church holds fast to God’s design of marriage specifically and only between one man and one woman the church voiced its support to protect gay-marriage rights and suggested such arrangements will not compromise the Biblical truth that same-sex marriage is against the Christian faith.
In 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in favor of gay marriage, evangelical Christian leader Franklin Graham said on Hannity, “Our country has been slipping every year further and further away from the God of the Bible -- the foundation that our nation was built on. We’re slipping away from that. And I believe that we need to do everything we can to warn people of the consequences of sin.”
“Homosexuality is sin,” said Graham. “Same-sex marriage is a sin against God. Now, people who don’t believe in God don’t care about that, but at the same time, Sean, God is going to judge sinners, so I love them enough to warn them of the consequences of sin.”
“And I want everyone who’s listening -- I’m not here to throw stones at you because you want to marry someone of the same sex -- I just want to warn you, and I do this in love, that God will judge sin,” said Graham. “God takes sin very seriously. God cannot tolerate sin in his presence.”
On Nov. 30, the day of the vote, Jones continued CNS' weird obsession with Schumer and his gay daughter, as well as its insistence on calling out Republicans by name who are insufficiently hateful of gay people:
"As you know, this is personal to me," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said shortly before the Senate passed the "Respect for Marriage Act," codifying homosexual marriage (and, incidentally, interracial marriage).
Schumer told a news conference on Tuesday that after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in 2020, "we were at a family dinner. And my daughter and her wife were distraught and asked me, 'Could our marriage be undone?'
“Today, a new day has come for them. In -- and in the new year, they'll be welcoming their first child, my third grandchild, God willing, in a few months.
"With the passage of this bill, though, I think not just about them and the millions of Americans it'll impact, but about my future grandchild. That child will now grow up in a more accepting, inclusive, and loving world, a world that will honor their mothers' marriage and give it the dignity it deserves."
To clear a filibuster, the Respect for Marriage Act needed ten Republicans to join Democrats in voting to advance the bill. In the end, twelve Republicans voted for final passage, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Capito (R-W.V.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
Jones then larded up her article with attacks on the bill from right-wing anti-LGBTQ groups like the Family Research Council and Americans Defending Freedom while refusing to offer balance from those who support the bill.
An anonymously written article then complained while using the denigrating "homosexual marriage" term:
Dr. Barry Black, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, was called to the podium at the front of the chamber on Nov. 28 to say a prayer, as is the customary practice before the Senate begins its daily sessions.
The major business the Senate then dealt with was voting to approve the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” which effectively approves homosexual marriage nationwide.
“Lord, give us the grace to stay on the road of virtuous and godly living,” Dr. Black said in this prayer.
Having heard this prayer, the Senate went on during that day’s session to approve the Respect for Marriage Actand, thus, extend nationwide recognition to homosexual marriageby a vote of 61 to 36. (Three senators did not vote.)
Not coincidentally, this was followed by another anonymously written article informing us that "The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes 'homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity' that are 'intrinsically disordered' and 'contrary to natural law,'" while providing no news-related reason for the article's existence.
Yet another anonymously written article served up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's praise for Senate passage of the bill. That stab at balance was undone by a Dec. 2 article by Lauren Shank quoting numerous right-wing and anti-LGBTQ activists purporting to be "worried about the future of religious liberty, for individuals and institutions, since the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 61-36 -- legislation that President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign into law." The article followed the same structure as her Nov. 21 article quoting some of the same critics and, like that article, omitted any semblance of balance by censoring activists who support the bill.
The Respect for Marriage Act was an important enough story that CNS sent itsinterns out to Capitol Hill to ask politicians loaded questions on the issue. And that's what fall interns Lauren Shank and Peyton Holliday got stuck doing -- and even Republicans have gotten wise to the gotcha, as a Nov. 30 article by Holliday illustrated:
When CNSNews.com asked Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R.-Wyo.) on Tuesday whether a baby has a right to a mother in light of the Senate then debating a bill to codify same-sex marriage into federal law Lummis (R-Wyo.) declined to answer the question and said she did not like where she thought the question was going.
Later that day, Lummis joined with 11 other Republican senators and 49 Democrats in voting for the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed 61-36 (with 3 senators not voting).
At the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 29, CNS News.com asked Sen. Lummis: “The Respect for Marriage Act recognizes a right to same-sex marriage. So, does a baby have a right to a mother?”
Senator Lummis answered: “I don’t know where you're going with this but I don’t like it.”
As for supporting the pro-same-sex marriage bill, Lummis told HuffPost, “The concern that people have expressed to me is that my views run counter to God’s definition of marriage. And I’ve tried to distinguish the fact that I support God’s definition of marriage but now there’s a second definition of marriage―it is secular and established by the [Supreme Court's] Obergefell decision―and it deserves respect, too.”
She added, “I hope that message will resonate. So far it’s been a tough sell.”
The article originally put Lummis' "I don’t know where you're going with this but I don’t like it" statement in the headline; it was later changed to the more boring "Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis Won't Say If a Baby Has a Right to a Mother" without an explanation to readers.
When asked whether a baby has a right to a mother, Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kans.), an OB/GYN who has delivered more than 5,000 babies, said he did not “understand the question,” and added, “It sounds too technical.”
At the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 30, CNS News asked Marshall, “The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the Senate yesterday, recognizes the right to same-sex marriage I’m with CNS News. So, does a baby have a right to a mother?”
Sen. Marshall replied, “I guess I didn’t understand the question.”
CNS News then said, “Well, the question of so, if we have same-sex marriage now legalized, so that means some children will be without a mother. So, do children have a right to a mother?”
Marshall replied, “Gosh, I just don’t get the question. I hear what you’re asking, but I don’t I don’t get it.”
CNS News then said, “Okay. Well, just like, a baby each baby has a right to a mother and a father, correct?”
Marshall said, “Yeah, I I think I’m just going to pass on this. It sounds too technical, but thank you for asking.”
The interns did ask two other Republican senators -- Tommy Tuberville and James Lankford -- who fully understood the virtue-signaling opportunity they were being handed and gave the answers their political ideology demanded (which was yes). No Democratic senators were ambushed with the question, even though part of the point of this exercise is to use those gotcha questions to make them look bad.
CNS' hate for the bill continued upon its signing. Melanie Arter wrote an article that yet again focused on Schumer having a gay daughter -- the third one focusing on that:
Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) celebrated the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, which requires states to accept the same-sex marriages performed in other states, by telling saying that the tie he was wearing was the same one he wore when his daughter married her wife.
During the signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Schumer said that thanks to his Democrat colleagues and millions of others “pushing for change,” his grandchild - his daughter’s first with her wife - “will get to live in a world that respects and honors their mothers’ marriage.”
Jones dedicated an article to her fellow right-wingers attacking the new law:
"Today's a good day," President Joe Biden told a cheering crowd at the White House on Tuesday after he signed the so-called "Respect for Marriage Act" into law.
No, it's not, said some conservative groups, who see the law as another opportunity for leftists to force their nontraditional ideology onto people who respect societal and religious norms.
"Today is a dark day for religious freedom," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement:
President Biden stated on Tuesday that "marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love and will you be loyal with that person you love? It's not more complicated than that."
But for centuries, love had nothing to do with marriage:
As President Reagan's former Education Secretary William Bennett once described it, marriage has three purposes: “protecting women, domesticating men and raising children.”
Marriage has taken different forms in different cultures, but until modern times, homosexuality was never the basis for marriage.
And certainly, in recent years, heterosexuals have marginalized marriage, through divorce or by foregoing it altogether.
Another Jones article served up even more right-wing criticism of the law:
The so-called "Respect for Marriage Act," signed into law by President Joe Biden amid a cheering crowd on Tuesday, codifies federal recognition of legally performed same-sex marriages (and interracial marriages).
But the law does not prohibit the federal government from retaliating against people or groups that hold sincere religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage.
Conservatives warn the law will be used against them, deliberately, to attack religious freedom.
"I think they're valid concerns," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News's Laura Ingraham Tuesday night.
In Christian religious tradition, marriages are perform in the presence of God to join "a man and a woman" in a bond established by God, a bond signifying the union between Christ and his Church, "and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people," as one Book of Common Prayer phrases it.
While heterosexual marriage is an ancient institution, recognized in some form across many cultures, homosexual marriage is not. The first legal same-sex marriages in the United States took place in 2004, 18 years ago.
In neither of these articles did Jones allow any supporter of the law to respond to the criticism. CNS' idea of "balance," apparently, was to complain that Cyndi Lauper appeared at a White House press briefing in an article by Arter:
Singer Cyndi Lauper said Tuesday that LGBTQ families “can rest easy” now that the Respect for Marriage Act is being signed into law “because our families are validated.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre introduced Lauper at Tuesday’s White House press briefing, saying, “I know we have some serious business ahead of us today, but as you know, sometimes a girl just wants to have fun” referencing one of Lauper’s hit songs, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Gay marriage means that "gender doesn't matter" anymore -- you can marry whoever you want -- and this logically damages society across the board, said author and commentator Dennis Prager.
He added, "The war against gender is a war against civilization."
Prager made his remarks in an interview with Dave Rubin, the host of The Rubin Report. Rubin is gay and "married" to a man; Prager is heterosexual and married. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, which essentially codifies "gay marriage" into federal law.
All this biased coverage was capped off by an angry Dec. 16 commentary by right-wing radio host Paul Milazzo:
When Bill Clinton looks like a devout Sunday School teacher, that’s your first clue that the culture has embraced sexual anarchy!
Back on September 21, 1996, Slick Willy actually signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act. It banned federal recognition of homosexual faux marriage by limiting the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. It further allowed states the right to refuse to recognize homosexual marriages granted under the laws of other states.
Tragically enough, since then, the Democrat Party’s [sic] platform has become a virtual Manifesto of Evil, championing today’s twin sins of baby-killing by abortion and sexual perversion. If Joe Biden dared to take a similar stand today, he would be put on the first train back to an assisted living home in his beloved hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Milazzo screeched that the 12 Republicans who voted for the bill were traitors on the scale of Judas Iscariot:
The 12 traitorous Republican Senators who voted for the “Disrespect of Marriage” Act include: Roy Blunt (Missouri), Richard Burr (North Carolina); Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia); Susan Collins (Maine); Joni Ernst (Iowa); Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming); Lisa Murkowski (Alaska); Rob Portman (Ohio); Mitt Romney (Utah); Dan Sullivan (Alaska); Thom Tillis (N.C.); and Todd Young (Indiana).
Here’s the $64,000 question.
Why did these 12 Republicans betray the conservative Christians who elected them with a Judas-style kiss on the cheek? Follow the money.
Milazzo concluded by ranting: "Now that these reprobates have championed Leviticus 18:22 , I don’t doubt that they will ultimately advocate every sexual perversion listed in Leviticus 18 as right, good, and even noble." His tone is not that much harsher than that of CNS' "news" coverage.