SCOTUS Coverage Roundup

This was a banner week for the LGBTQ community, with the Supreme Court’s rulings on Proposition 8 (no standing for an appeal, sent back to the lower court, which means the lower-court decision overturning Prop. 8 holds) and the Defense of Marriage Act (section 3, banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional)—not to mention the Voting Rights Act decision, which could negatively impact the LGBTQ community. And it was hella busy for NLGJA members and LGBTQ journalists. Here’s a sampling of your awesome coverage. (We surely didn’t get it all – please add what we missed to the comments.) Thanks to Jen Christensen for researching and compiling links!

Joneil Adriano, the CBS Morning Show, which was all over it.

Diane Anderson-Minshall for

Gabriel Arana:

John Aravosis:

Dyana Bagby:

Karen Bailis, Newsday, surely fighting to pick the right cover for the paper

Tracy Baim, editing Windy City Times:

John Becker, editor of Bilerico, and husband Michael Knaapen:

Matthew Bajko for the Bay Area Reporter:

Jonathan Capehart for The Washington Post:

Jen Christensen, Wednesday’s front page

Jen Colletta for Philadelphia Gay News:

Mike Conneen, DC News Channel 8:

Laura Douglas-Brown:

Kerry Eleveld:

Alan Flippen with The New York Times:

Steve Friess with Politico:

Chris Geidner with BuzzFeed:

Randy Gener: and

Michael Gold at the Baltimore Sun:,0,2321986.story

Howard Goldberg, behind the scenes at the Associated Press

Chad Graham at AZCentral has been tweeting

Eric Hegedus with NY Post

Matt Hennie with Project Q Atlanta:

Sharyn Jackson at the Des Moines Register:

Ken Jost appeared in the SCOTUS wrap on NewsChannel 8, DC

Lisa Keen with the

Phil Reese & Michael Key at the Blade:

Don Lemon was covering the decision from New York City, doing live shots outside of the Stonewall Inn

Mark McGoonigle with Los Angeles Times

Mekahlo Medina (covering in West Hollywood):

Jeff McMillan, behind the scenes at the Associated Press

Doug Moore with St. Louis Post Dispatch:

And a contributing line for this:

Javi Morgado with New Day at CNN, which was all about it.

Steven Petrow for The New York Times:

David Poller, photos:

Cathy Renna:

Peter Roenstein for Huff Po:

Steve Rothaus:

Ari Shapiro, NPR says he contributed to this:

Bradley Jacobs Sigesmund with US Weekly Magazine:

Michelangelo Signorile for Huff Po:

David Steinberg worked the copy desk and was asked to back-read all the SCOTUS/SSM copy. He also worked with the San Francisco Chronicle’s personal finance columnist for a column she’s doing about the impact on individuals based on the DOMA ruling (income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, etc.).

Doug Stewart, social media reaction

Steven Thrasher for Gawker:

Bill Tomison on WPRI

Jennifer Vanasco, for WNYC:

Pete Williams covering the story for NBC

Tina Yee:


Pride in full swing

In case you missed it, it’s June. And in much of the U.S., that means LGBTQ Pride Month. There’s been lots of gay happenings this month — some good, some bad.

NLGJA was invited to attend the “off the record” conversations between Attorney General Eric Holder and media outlets; other groups invited to the June 3 meeting included the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native American Journalists Association and the Asian American Journalists Association. Of these, only NAHJ — and the interim executive director of UNITY — attended the meeting. The three groups that declined the invitation cited the off-the-record requirement as reason for their decision. Several large media outlets had been invited to an earlier meeting with Holder, including the Associated Press, the Washington Post and NPR.

Earlier this month, Michelle Obama was heckled at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., by a lesbian asking when the president was going to sign an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors. The first lady wasn’t entertaining hecklers that day. (Here’s LZ Granderson’s take on the situation.)

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its rulings on the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage cases before it goes into summer recess at the end of this month. Stay tuned …

In case you missed it, President Obama nominated Daniel Baer, Department of State assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, to be the next ambassador for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Baer, the highest-ranking openly gay State employee and a speaker at the 2011 NLGJA convention in Philadelphia, would be the fourth openly gay U.S. ambassador.

In Illinois, marriage-equality supporters got a setback May 31 when the state House opted to not hold a vote on legislation that would have provided marriage for same-sex couples, citing a lack of supportive votes. The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February by a vote of 34-21. The House has until Aug. 31 to take up the legislation again.

There’s also plenty of coverage of gay pride events around the country, with the accompanying kudos and criticisms of what the media opts to portray: drag queens, gay men in tiny swimsuits, butch lesbians on motorcycles or the more tame and mainstream (and often less sensational images). It can be a hard call for an editor: Pick the photo that represents a better cross-section of the population or the photo that is sure to draw the eye and the attention because it is an outlier and not something you see every day? What coverage have you seen that you love/hate?

And finally, NLGJA President Jen Christensen and longtime member Holly Crenshaw will attend the White House LGBT Pride Month reception June 13. We expect pictures …

ESPN host, reporter OK to question Collins’ Christianity?

By Sharif Durhams (NGLJA board member and Reporter/Social Media Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Washington Wizards free agent Jason Collins wrote this week that he wanted to start a conversation when he became the first male athlete on a professional team sport to declare he’s gay.

The subsequent “conversation” on ESPN almost overshadowed the announcement when an ESPN reporter said Collins’ declaration was “in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”
During a discussion Monday on interview program “Outside the Lines,” ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard told the show’s host about the varied reactions from players, team general managers and NBA leadership to Collins’ announcement.

The host then asked Broussard about a section in Collins’ piece in which he describes his Christian upbringing.

Broussard spent the next minute sharing his view:

Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex [sic] between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says “You know them by their fruits.” It says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.

The host elicited this response from ESPN opinion writer LZ Granderson, NLGJA’s 2011 Journalist of the Year:

My response is that faith–just like love, just like marriage–is personal. If you try to use a broad brush to paint everyone’s faith, what you really are painting is a world in which it’s comfortable for you … in this country, we’re allowed various forms of religion. Just because someone doesn’t agree with one person’s interpretation of the Bible versus another, doesn’t mean that they have the exclusive rights to dictate how that person should live.

ESPN later released a statement saying the network regrets “ that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news.” Broussard released a statement reiterating his beliefs, but said his personal views won’t change his ability to report on the NBA and described Collins as brave for publicly coming out.

Broussard is receiving the expected support and criticism. As a journalist, I’m more intrigued by the question that triggered Broussard’s hotly debated statement. “He mentioned in his article, Jason, that he is a Christian as well, so what’s your take on that?”

Broussard is free to have whatever religious beliefs he wants. But having the host even raise the question of whether an athlete’s faith is genuine seems to be a place reporters would rarely go.

We could, for instance, ask Broussard’s take on players who have children out of wedlock while saying they’re Christian, but I can’t imagine an ESPN host raising that question. Former New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is probably the most visibly vocal Christian athlete in American sports, but I can’t imagine an ESPN host asking whether his particular evangelism is Christ-like.

The website Business Insider went as far as to see an ESPN conspiracy in the decision to raise the question. “[W]hen you consider both Broussard’s history and the entire context of the conversation, it’s clear that the producers at ESPN knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, and it’s their fault more than Broussard’s for creating a situation that they’ve now apologized for.”

Broussard’s views are known. In 2007, already-retired NBA veteran John Amaechi announced publicly that he was gay. Two years later in an interview, Broussard said many sportswriters wrote about Amaechi’s announcement from a “pro-homosexual” standpoint.

I don’t know that I’d take it that far. But the ESPN host opened the network to such accusations.

There are a number of ways the host could have gotten to the issue of religion without asking Broussard his personal opinion. And there are ways Broussard could have reminded the audience that some athletes would have a religious objection to Collins’ sexual identity without sharing his personal objections.

Winning on same-sex marriage coverage

This week’s news really was all about same-sex marriage, particularly here in Washington, D.C. Perhaps my news feeds are biased, but it looks like the coverage was balanced — supportive even. There was plenty of positive coverage of the Supreme Court hearings and, even when news outlets felt compelled to “balance” the story with the views of those who oppose same-sex marriage, hosts felt compelled to disagree with them on air. Here were some of the highlights:

The Washington Post ran an editorial calling for the overturn of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Bill O’Reilly said that same-sex marriage advocates have a “compelling argument.”

Rush Limbaugh said the conservatives have lost on the same-sex marriage issue.

Earlier this week, Fox News host Megyn Kelly gave National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher a what for, comparing same-sex marriage to interracial marriage, and noting how the Supreme Court intervened in the latter.


And perhaps most compelling this week are the split Time covers: “Gay Marriage Already Won.” The black-and-white photos are an interesting, provocative selection. The magazine didn’t opt for family photos of smiling, nonthreatening gay and lesbian families and their kids: It went for the part of same-sex marriage that may be most off-putting to mainstream cultures. The kissing, the sexuality. It’s a bold choice for a mainstream publication to make. Certainly, there will be backlash and outrage and “moral disapproval” that the magazine featured same-sex couples kissing. (On the cover! Close up! No color!) But it was likely a good business decision. And the accompanying article was largely positive, save for a colorful sentence about AIDS and bathhouses.

So what was your take on the media’s coverage of this week’s Supreme Court hearings? Did you see anything good, bad, ugly?

NLGJA calls on AP for equal treatment of married gays and lesbians

APLogoThe Associated Press again drew the ire of the LGBT community, including some journalists, this week when an internal guidance memo advised staff not to refer to same-sex married couples as “husband” or “wife,” but instead as couples or partners. (Would it be inappropriate to call this move homophobic?)

After initiating a discussion with the AP stylebook editor about the memo, NLGJA sent AP a letter today calling out the double standard and encouraging the news agency to revise the guidance to use the same terms for married individuals, regardless of sex.

The memo came to the attention of the NLGJA’s Rapid Response Task Force on Tuesday, after the memo was posted on several blogs.

The original memo, issued in the agency’s Style Watch on Feb. 11, stated, “We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves ‘husband’ and ‘wife.’ Our view is that such terms may be used in AP stories with attribution. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriage.”

The problematic guidance is the last sentence, which instructs reporters to refer to married individuals as partners or couples—not husband or wife. Considering reporters use husband and wife routinely to describe opposite-sex married couples, this creates a clear double standard.

While the AP guidance may be appropriate for same-sex couples in civil unions, which is a comparatively new institution without clearly established or universal terms, married is married.

Former NLGJA President David Steinberg contacted David Minthorn, the stylebook editor for AP, on Tuesday and explained how the language was problematic. And while AP issued revised guidance to the original memo, it still fell short.

The clarified AP guidance added, “Our view is that such terms may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms (‘Smith is survived by his husband, John Jones’) or in quotes attributed to them.”

While this is marginally better, it retains the earlier language regarding using couples and partners for married same-sex individuals.

NLGJA President Jen Christensen’s letter to AP can be found here.