Gazette uncritically reported Spence's attack on Democrats' "divisive" social issues agenda while ignoring "divisive" GOP bills

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Reporting on a bill that would allow both members of a same-sex or unmarried heterosexual couple to adopt a child, The Gazette of Colorado Springs noted Republican Sen. Nancy Spence's comments that Democrats were introducing a "divisive social measure" at the expense of "more pressing problems." The March 7 article ignored "divisive" Republican-sponsored bills and didn't mention that both parties' agendas focus on education, health care, and renewable energy.

A March 7 article in The Gazette of Colorado Springs about House Bill 1330, which would allow both members of a same-sex or unmarried heterosexual couple to adopt a child, uncritically reported Republican Sen. Nancy Spence's (Centennial) misleading attack on Democrats. Spence "bemoaned the fact Democrats are introducing a divisive social measure when the state has more pressing problems to solve," according to the article, which failed to mention that Republicans also have introduced several "divisive social measure[s]," including a statewide ban on almost all abortions.

Furthermore, The Gazette left unchallenged Spence's suggestion that the Democratic and Republican caucuses were not focusing on "more pressing problems" such as "transportation, education and health care." In fact, the Democratic and Republican leadership agendas for the current legislative session both address education, health care and renewable energy.

The Gazette article by Ed Sealover reported that "[g]ay and lesbian couples -- as well as other unmarried couples and relatives looking to help unwed mothers -- could adopt a child under a bill released Tuesday." It further noted:

Similar legislation was rejected in committee in 2003 and 2004, but House Majority Leader Alice Madden, prime sponsor of the measure, thinks it has a good chance of passing this year with Democrats in control of the General Assembly. Gov. Bill Ritter has told her he would sign it if it came to his desk, she said.

HB 1330 would allow "a child to be adopted by a specified second adult parent upon the written and verified consent of a single parent if the child has no other legal parent." As The Gazette noted, gay and lesbian individuals already have legal rights to adopt.

The Gazette then reported Spence's attack on Democrats for introducing "a divisive social measure" and stated that her comments were similar to those Democrats made when they were in the minority:

Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, bemoaned the fact Democrats are introducing a divisive social measure when the state has more pressing problems to solve. Her statement echoed claims that Democrats made about Republicans when the GOP controlled the Legislature before 2005.

However, The Gazette failed to mention any of the "divisive social measure[s]" that Republicans have introduced this session. Those include:

  • Senate Bill 138, the so-called "religious bill of rights" for public schools, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs), contained an "opt-out" provision for parents or students who object to "the use of specific course material [in public schools] that is inconsistent with his or her religious beliefs." In addition, the bill originally contained a provision that would hold "individual members of local [school] boards personally liable for lawsuits brought under the act if the local board fails to adopt policies and procedures to implement the act or to ensure compliance with the act."
  • Senate Bill 143, the "abortion ban" bill, sponsored by Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) and Rep. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs), would have made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions except to save the life of the mother. Like the rejected South Dakota ban it was modeled after, it contained no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
  • Senate Bill 71, sponsored by Schultheis and Rep. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud), would redefine the statutory definition of murder to make "killing a fetus in certain circumstances a class 1 felony." In committee, Democrats criticized the measure as a "bill against abortion."
  • Senate Bill 69, also sponsored by Renfroe, would have prohibited "law enforcement agencies from maintaining a statewide concealed handgun permit database."

Additionally, The Gazette uncritically reported Spence's comment that she would "rather" the Democratic and Republican caucuses "focus on transportation, education and health care." In fact, both the Democratic and Republican agendas (House and Senate) for this session are based on the education, health care, and renewable energy measures now moving through the legislature.

From the article "Measure allows gay couples right to adopt," by Ed Sealover, published in the March 7 edition of The Gazette of Colorado Springs:

DENVER -- Gay and lesbian couples -- as well as other unmarried couples and relatives looking to help unwed mothers -- could adopt a child under a bill released Tuesday.

Similar legislation was rejected in committee in 2003 and 2004, but House Majority Leader Alice Madden, prime sponsor of the measure, thinks it has a good chance of passing this year with Democrats in control of the General Assembly. Gov. Bill Ritter has told her he would sign it if it came to his desk, she said.

[...]

Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, bemoaned the fact Democrats are introducing a divisive social measure when the state has more pressing problems to solve. Her statement echoed claims that Democrats made about Republicans when the GOP controlled the Legislature before 2005.

"I'd rather have our caucus focus on transportation, education and health care, and I'd rather have their caucus focus on those as well," Spence said.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.