USA Today Latest Newspaper to Come Out Against Prop 8

With elections less than a week away, USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the country, today became the latest newspaper to oppose Proposition 8, a ballot measure that would eliminate marriage for same-sex couples in California.  USA Today is distributed in all 50 states and has a circulation average of over 2.25 million every weekday.  In their editorial, the paper concluded: “…the states’ responsibility is to protect their citizens’ rights no matter how their relationships are labeled.” Their editorial also denounced the “fear-mongering ads” from the Yes on 8 campaign, which falsely claim voting No on 8 would bring harm to religious institutions and negatively affect Californians. The editorial points out that such effects have not materialized in other states, that the “…thousands of same-sex marriages in California and Massachusetts have neither brought the world to an end nor triggered such excess.” USA Today is just the latest in a long line of newspapers to publish an editorial opposing Prop 8.  This trend shows how the media is not buying into the lies, distortions and scare tactics used by the Yes on 8 campaign. To provide a perspective on previous national and regional newspapers that have come out against Proposition 8, here is a recap of just a handful of the editorials published in recent months:
  • The Los Angeles Times (August 8, 2008)- “In other words, the very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry-traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment-by definition relegates them and their relationships to second-class status, separate and not all that equal.”
  • San Jose Mercury News (August 17, 2008)- “Of all the reasons people give for banning gay marriage - the purpose of Proposition 8 on the November ballot - the most difficult for us to fathom is that a marriage between two people of the same sex somehow diminishes the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.”
  • Napa Valley Register (September 17, 2008)- “In our view, Proposition 8 is a misguided and unconstitutional proposal.”
  • The Riverside Press-Enterprise (September 27, 2008)- “The decision to marry is those couples’ business, and no one else’s. There is no compelling public policy reason to reverse that arrangement, and voters should say no to Prop. 8.”
  • The New York Times (September 29, 2008)- “It is our fervent hope that Californians will reject this mean-spirited attempt to embed second-class treatment of one group of citizens in the State Constitution.”
  • San Francisco Chronicle (October 1, 2008)- “The idea of using a ballot measure to single out a certain group of Californians for denial of individual rights - based on their sexual orientation - would represent an ugly distortion of the very purpose of a constitution.”
  • Redding Record Searchlight (October 9, 2008)- “Ads promoting Proposition 8 argue that if the measure fails people could be sued for their religious beliefs and churches could lose their tax-exempt status. These are hollow scare tactics.”
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 3, 2008)- “In the four months since the Supreme Court decision, we have not seen any evidence that allowing same-sex marriages somehow weakens heterosexual unions.”
  • Ventura County Star (October 12, 2008)- “We agree with the state Supreme Court that providing a separate distinction for same-gender couples gives the impression that they are, in some respects, second-class citizens.”
  • Los Angeles Times (October 21, 2008)- “The measure would do one thing: use the state Constitution as the device to take away an existing, fundamental right from a particular group of people, so that a loving adult in that group could not marry the person of his or her choice.”
  • The Fresno Bee (October 21, 2008)- “The notion that same-sex marriages somehow threaten the sanctity and strength of heterosexual marriages is simply absurd.”
  • Sacramento Bee (October 29, 2008)- “Dragging schools into this campaign is an effort to obscure the real issue, which is: Proposition 8 is about changing the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”