Ahead of Supreme Court Arguments, Sunday News Shows Favor Gay Marriage Supporters

On the popular newsmaker talk shows Sunday, all of the major TV networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News – had more guests supporting the view that marriage should be redefined to include same-sex couples than guests supporting the traditional definition of marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in two cases dealing with same-sex marriage. Watching the Sunday news talk shows, though, one would hear much from those who want the Court to redefine marriage for all states to include same-sex couples. And, little time was given for those who hold the view that the traditional definition of marriage should be maintained or the decision to redefine marriage should be left to the states.

ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" had five panelists discuss the issue, none of whom argued in favor of traditional marriage. Three panelists supported redefining marriage: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile and ABC News journalist Terry Moran. Two people, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan and Republican strategist Karl Rove, argued that the decision should be left to the states, but neither of them presented the argument in favor of traditional marriage. Noonan even said that the opposition to gay marriage is dying off and Rove said that the 2016 Republican presidential candidate could be a supporter of gay marriage.

NBC's "Meet the Press" had one person supporting traditional marriage, Faith & Freedom Coalition Founder and Chairman Ralph Reed, and three people supporting allowing same-sex couples to marry, conservative columnist David Brooks, liberal columnist E. J. Dionne and Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen. Brooks, though, took the view that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, but the decision should not be imposed on all states by the Supreme Court. After that panel discussion, host David Gregory interviewed David Boies, who is on one of the legal teams that will argue before the Court that the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage. Boies had the opportunity to present his side's position while no one from the opposite legal team, which will argue that the Constitution does not require states to redefine marriage, was interviewed. Gregory did not ask Boies challenging questions.

"Fox News Sunday" had one segment that was balanced, with one person on each side of the issue. Gary Bauer, president of American Values, presented an argument in favor of traditional marriage and Nicole Wallace, former adviser to President George W. Bush, explained why she supports same-sex marriage. In the panel discussion after that, though, three discussants supported same-sex marriage, Evan Bayh, Jennifer Rubin and Juan Williams, and only one, Newt Gingrich, argued that the Court should leave the decision to the states.

CBS' "Face the Nation" came the closest to providing a balanced view. The discussion had three people in favor of same-sex marriage, NFL football player Brendon Ayanbadejo, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson and conservative columnist David Frum, and two people opposed to same-sex marriage, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Alliance Defending Freedom's Austin Nimocks. Host Bob Schieffer, though, did a better job than his colleagues at providing both sides about equal time. Also unlike the hosts on the other networks, Schieffer provided Nimocks and Perkins adequate time to present their arguments without interruption.

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