NBC's Curry repeated Warren falsehood about Prop 8 without noting it's false

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

On MSNBC Live, Ann Curry stated of Rev. Rick Warren, "One of the issues he said is that, you know, he cannot -- he was concerned that there would be an infringement on his freedom to speak about it, because if, in fact, he came out -- he was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage." In fact, neither Proposition 8 -- which sought to overturn the California Supreme Court's ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry -- nor the Supreme Court decision itself had anything to do with members of the clergy.

Previewing her Dateline NBC interview with Rev. Rick Warren during the December 18 edition of MSNBC Live, Dateline co-host Ann Curry stated, "One of the issues he said is that, you know, he cannot -- he was concerned that there would be an infringement on his freedom to speak about it, because if, in fact, he came out -- he was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage." Curry's reporting of Warren's claim echoed the falsehood advanced by critics of same-sex marriage that if the California ballot initiative Proposition 8 had not passed, members of the clergy could have been restricted in what they could say in the pulpit and could have been forced to perform same-sex marriages. Neither is true. Proposition 8, and the state Supreme Court decision it sought to overturn, had nothing to do with members of the clergy and did not address their actions or speech in any way.

As Media Matters for America has noted, the California Supreme Court's ruling directed "state officials [] [to] take all necessary and appropriate steps so that local officials may begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." The court itself noted the irrelevance of its decision to clergy, saying in the majority opinion that "no religion will be required to change its policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."

From the noon ET hour of MSNBC Live on December 18:

CONTESSA BREWER (anchor): When the pastor in a religious church gets up and stands up and says, "My religion does not permit the marriage between two people of the same gender," that's what happens in that church, and he's the head of that church and he has every right to say that.

But when he comes out and supports Proposition 8 banning gay marriage, he's talking about secular marriage, he's taking about marriage that happens without the sanction necessarily of any church, that happens in a government setting. Does he see any difference between those two?

I mean, he was coming out against a government proposition, not something that happens within the walls of his own congregation.

CURRY: It's interesting. You know, one of the answers he has to that is that the pro -- the idea of gay marriage was so well-funded in terms of, groups had come forth and had basically said, you know, "We're gonna fund the fight against this ban," that he felt that it was his responsibility to come out and say, "Wait a minute. We need to also -- we need to create a balance here so that people hear both sides."

One of the issues he said is that, you know, he cannot -- he was concerned that there would be an infringement on his freedom to speak about it, because if, in fact, he came out -- he was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage.

So, you know, we go into all of that. But also we talk about, you know, him as a man in our interview on Dateline, and he talks about how he himself has sinned and how -- some of his own frailties. And I think that people will see a multifaceted view of Rick Warren.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBT, Religion
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Ann Curry
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
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