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May 23, 2004

Legislating via Plausible Deniability

The extreme bias of Linda Borg's Providence Journal coverage of the now-famous Lee and Judi McNeil-Beckwith, the first lesbian Rhode Islanders to make a show of marrying in Massachusetts, is hardly noteworthy. Of a little more interest — in an inside-baseball sort of way — is that Borg's is the first Projo article I've seen that admitted that Attorney General Patrick Lynch "parsed his words carefully" for his "opinion" on the legal question of such marriages' validity. In a mild way, I wonder whether somebody at the paper read my previous complaints about its handling of Lynch's statement.

However, busy and stressed out as I am, the following is what made this latest bit of marketing-as-news worthy of a few moments for a post:

After waiting nearly a decade, the couple wanted one final blessing before they took the plunge. They wanted to make sure their marriage would be valid when they returned to Providence. And so Lee called Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch Tuesday and asked for his advice.

"He congratulated us, wished us well and said his hope is that we receive all of the benefits" of marriage, Judi said.

That makes Lynch's parsing seem somewhat less of a political balance and more of an activistic strategy. It's one thing to decline responsibility for a decision in such a way that others manipulate the statement to place responsibility where it does not belong. It's another thing to intend for that to happen.

Posted by Justin Katz at May 23, 2004 3:31 PM
Marriage & Family