Rocky headline identified backers of gay marriage ban as "marriage proponents"

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In the headline of an article about competing ballot measures related to gay marriage and domestic partnerships, The Rocky Mountain News referred to supporters of a ballot initiative to create a constitutional provision against same-sex marriage as "marriage proponents."

In the headline of a September 5 article about competing ballot measures related to gay marriage and domestic partnerships, The Rocky Mountain News referred to supporters of a ballot initiative to create a constitutional provision against same-sex marriage as "marriage proponents."

The article by News reporter Myung Oak Kim detailed the campaign efforts of two conservative groups -- Coloradans for Marriage and Focus on the Family -- who seek the passage of Amendment 43, which would amend the Colorado Constitution to specify "that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado." The term "marriage proponents" used in the headline apparently referred to the backers of Amendment 43, although the same article also reported on a competing ballot initiative that would allow gay couples to register as domestic partners.

According to the article, "The campaign to ban gay marriage is moving toward the November election on two fronts. The group sponsoring the ballot measure that would define marriage in the Colorado Constitution as a heterosexual union is pushing a grass-roots plan that relies on volunteers and its strongest support base - the state's thousands of churches." The same article also stated, "At the same time, the political arm of Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs evangelical institution, is bankrolling another group that will support the ballot measure through television ads."

The same News article also reported on the backers of Referendum I, which would "provide eligible same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the benefits, protections, and responsibilities afforded by Colorado law to spouses." According to the September 5 article, "Sean Duffy, executive director of Coloradans for Fairness and Equality, said his group will try to explain Amendment 43's full impact." The same article also quoted Duffy as saying, "People need to understand that we're at the point of taking rights away from people by using the constitution."

This is at least the second time the Colorado media have identified backers of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as "proponents" or "supporters" of marriage. As Colorado Media Matters has noted, KUSA 9News in the headline of an August 7 article on its website identified proponents of a ballot initiative to create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as "marriage supporters."

From the September 5 Rocky Mountain News article by Myung Oak Kim, "Marriage proponents seeking church support":

The campaign to ban gay marriage is moving toward the November election on two fronts.

The group sponsoring the ballot measure that would define marriage in the Colorado Constitution as a heterosexual union is pushing a grass-roots plan that relies on volunteers and its strongest support base - the state's thousands of churches.

Coloradans for Marriage hopes to enlist church leaders to urge congregants to vote for Amendment 43 during "Marriage Sunday" services on the final two weekends of October.

At the same time, the political arm of Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs evangelical institution, is bankrolling another group that will support the ballot measure through television ads. Focus on the Family Action has poured $500,000 into a political committee called Colorado Family Action Inc. that has already spent more than $200,000 on television ad time for the weeks leading up to the election.

Officials at Focus, a key supporter of similar measures that passed in almost 20 other states, won't disclose their political strategy.

[...]

Not all churches and religious groups support Amendment 43. An organization called Colorado Clergy for Equality in Marriage is campaigning against it.

So are the proponents of Referendum I, a ballot measure that would allow gay couples to register as domestic partners and receive many legal rights and responsibilities given to married couples.

Sean Duffy, executive director of Coloradans for Fairness and Equality, said his group will try to explain Amendment 43's full impact.

"People need to understand that we're at the point of taking rights away from people by using the constitution," Duffy said.

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