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The Battle over MarriageGay Rights Activism through the Media$
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Leigh Moscowitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038129

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038129.001.0001

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Speaking Out

Speaking Out

Representing Gay Perspectives in News Discourse

(p.99) 5. Speaking Out
The Battle over Marriage

Leigh Moscowitz

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how media narratives and activist strategies for representing gay perspectives in news discourse evolved over time. Drawing on activist interviews conducted in 2010 and 2011 as well as sample of news stories from 2008 through 2010, the chapter considers the journalistic devices that produced dominant meanings of the gay marriage issue, including the prevalent frames, sourcing patterns, photographic and graphic images, moving images, voice-over narration, and visual representations of married couples and the LGBT community more generally. It shows that, despite an overall more favorable tone and nuanced coverage of the debate, gay rights activists struggled in dealing with journalistic frames that resorted to the “God vs. gays” argument and played the race card. Mainstream media outlets continued to look to religious leaders as “obvious” oppositional sources on gay rights, while the movent's leaders faced internal conflicts over how best to represent pro-gay perspectives in media discourse and gain support from the “moveable middle.”

Keywords:   news stories, gay marriage, visual representations, gay rights activists, journalistic frames, race, mainstream media, gay rights

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