LA Times editorial falsely claimed "unusually centrist" McCain "oppose[s] a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage"

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times falsely asserted that Sen. John McCain "oppose[s] a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage." According to remarks he made in March, McCain supports amendments to state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage and would also support under certain circumstances an amendment to the federal Constitution banning same-sex marriage. The Times also called McCain "an unusually centrist candidate"; however, McCain has said that he has "the record of a mainstream conservative."

In a June 8 editorial, the Los Angeles Times falsely asserted that Sen. John McCain "oppose[s] a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage." In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, according to remarks McCain made on the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, he supports amendments to state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage and would also support under certain circumstances an amendment to the federal Constitution banning same-sex marriage. McCain stated: "I believe that states like mine and other states ... should amend our state constitutions. And I will stick to that position until such time, if ever, a higher court says that my state or another state has to recognize the other stat -- another status of marriage." He added, "I'm committed to maintaining the unique status of marriage between man and woman. I think it can best be accomplished, and in keeping with my federalist philosophy that states should do as much as possible to have that done at the state level. ... But if it is overturned by a superior court, I will then obviously support the other path."

The Times misstated McCain's position on a federal marriage amendment while asserting that McCain and Sen. Barack Obama "agree" on the issue of "same-sex marriage." However, in addition to their differences on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, McCain has also reportedly continued to oppose civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, unlike Obama, who has said he supports them. In 2006, McCain supported Arizona's Proposition 107, an amendment that would have banned both same-sex marriages and civil unions. According to an April 27, 2007, New York Sun report, McCain stated of a civil-union bill in New Hampshire: "I am opposed to that legislation." According to the Sun, he further said: "If I were a citizen of New Hampshire, I would oppose it. ... Anything that impinges or impacts the sanctity of the marriage between men and women, I'm opposed to it."

In addition, the Times wrote: "With a Republican president experiencing some of the worst approval ratings ever, it's no shock that the party opted for an unusually centrist candidate." However, contrary to the Times' assertion that McCain is an "unusually centrist candidate," in a February 7 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, McCain stated, "My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative." He also said in the speech: "If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for president, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing."

From the June 8 Los Angeles Times editorial:

It has been a refrain during the exhausting battle for the Democratic presidential nomination that once Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama emerged as the party's choice, we could finally dispense with the personality battles and get down to nitty-gritty policy differences. Indeed, now that Obama seems to have the position locked up, he and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain will have plenty to argue about. But some might be surprised at the breadth of issues on which they largely agree.

On McCain's side, this is understandable. With a Republican president experiencing some of the worst approval ratings ever, it's no shock that the party opted for an unusually centrist candidate. Yet Obama, too, represents a break from Democratic orthodoxy and is reaching out to the middle. This could indicate that on certain policies, something like a national consensus is developing. It at least signals a lessening of the partisan divide that has blocked progress on important changes.

Here are the biggest plots of common ground:

[...]

* Social issues. Of the three biggest issues of the day -- abortion, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem-cell research -- Obama and McCain agree on two. That is, both oppose a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and both would like to eliminate restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell studies. McCain, though, is an outspoken abortion opponent who wants to see Roe vs. Wade overturned and would appoint Supreme Court justices who share that view. Obama is pro-choice.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBT
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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