So what is the message sent by the mainstream media?
One should speak of messages. There are several different narratives.
The media has provided some attention to the basic legal arguments of the lawyers involved. The fact that the legal team on the side of same sex marriage consists of the all-star duo of David Boies and Ted Olsen might account for the positive attention garnered by that side of the debate. Detailed exploration of the legal nuances of constitutional law by experts, however, hardly will attract the same interest as programs devoted to, say, the Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman cases. Consequently, viewers instead watch sometimes informative but often superficial exchanges on how such ideas as equality and rights figure in the same sex marriage debate.
Indeed, equality and rights seems to be the central message of the media personalities who, like most of us, are unacquainted with the nuances of constitutional law. This also the message of the social media and "the street," whenever advocates for same sex marriage assert their claims. Usually the claims are not followed with any philosophical grounding; and no one in the mainstream media cares to ask for it.
If asked on what grounds same sex marriage is a right, what would be the reply? Because it is a right? Because marriage is a right? Can one seek to establish a right simply by claiming it is a right? How would someone like this respond to Jeremy Bentham's challenge from many years ago:
"In proportion to the want of happiness resulting form the want of rights, a reason exists for wishing that there were such things as rights. But reasons for wishing there were such things as rights, are not rights--a reason for wishing that a certain right were established, is not that right--want is not supply--hunger is not bread."
If asked on what grounds homosexual marriages are equal to heterosexual marriages, what would be the reply? Because they are? Because they have equal rights (which take us in a circle.) What would they say to Aristotle's skeptical observation that:
"Democracy arose from men thinking that if they are equal in one respect, they are equal absolutely"
And his claim that
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal."
No one has asked. And in our nation's public philosophy, rights and equality resonate far more powerfully than any another words, and in the debate over same sex marriage, especially over tradition and religion.
The mainstream media and social media, however, also have carried a far more insidious message from same sex marriage supporters.
While creating a narrative of gentle gay people suffering from relentless bigotry and bullying, they have manifest themselves as intense "haters" themselves. Because they assume no reasonable person could possibly object to affection among same sex couples or to experience revulsion at the sexual activities of homosexuals, they conclude that anyone who does object is unreasonable. They must suffer from some pathology: "homophobia." Or worse, they harbor some malicious hatred of homosexuals. Operating as if they something like the old Vulcan Mind Meld, same sex marriage advocates and their media facilitators claim the ability to gain access to the cognitive contents and emotional states of their opponents.
The most visible poster at "gay rights" rallies in opposition to the efforts of Californians to affirm the biological, historical, and religious basis of marriage in Proposition 8 summed up the sentiments of this inarticulate mob: "Stop the H8." While most protests consisted of love fests, some protesters held up these posters over contorted faces and teeth clenched in rage. Some adopted proto-fascist posters like one:
While they thus accuse opponents of hatred, same sex marriage advocates label them bible thumping, medieval, knuckle dragging, neanderthals. In order to make their own hating up close and personal, the "gay rights" advocates even sought to acquire the names of all persons and groups who contributed money to the campaign for Proposition 8. Those efforts were wisely rebuffed. Armed with those names, "gay rights" advocates would be converging on homes, churches, and businesses to spew their hatred face to face. They focused most of their animus at the Mormon Church, ignoring the majority of black voters that supported Proposition 8. Recognition of black opposition might threaten their meme that "gay is the new black."
This kind of intimidation accounts as much as anything else for the change in public opinion. Many people have not undergone any change in their hearts and minds; they have simply grown tired of name calling from "gay rights" activists. It adds a new dimension to the concept of "gay bullying."
The mainstream media has demonstrated itself to be effective facilitators of this message.
And now the courts, as will be shown in the next post, have strayed far beyond their primary focus of constitutional interpretation and now embrace this narrative.