For years, the Washington Times, arguably the most conservative newspaper in America, angered critics by putting scare quotes around the phrase “gay marriage.” Given that this practice was widely condemned and eventually abandoned by recently-departed Times editor John Solomon, it was a bit striking to read this in today's Los Angeles Times story on the Suprme Court's intervention on the upcoming Prop. 8 trial in California:
This is the second time in recent months in which the high court has intervened on behalf of the defenders of “traditional marriage” and granted an emergency appeal.
Um, “traditional marriage”? That descriptor is wholly accurate and I don't know what merits the scare quotes. On the other hand, reporter David Savage tipped his hand in the first paragraph that he's a either completely thoughtless or simply biased:
The U.S. Supreme Court, acting on an appeal from conservative defenders of California's ban on same-sex marriage, overruled a federal judge in San Francisco today and blocked video coverage of the trial on YouTube.
Considering that these “conservative defenders of California's ban on same-sex marriage” aren't named specifically, it sure seems like Savage is labeling “defenders of California's ban on same-sex marriage” as conservatives. To be fair to Savage, it's possible he meant “conservative” in the sense of conserving an insitution, but that seems unlikely and even if it were true it would be prone to cause confusion. Again, these defenders are supporting a position that that a majority of voters in California support — hardly a conservative state — and a position that the Democratic President of the United States also supports. It doesn't necessarily make them conservatives.