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Maine Marriage Foes Distort AP Headline


Stand for Marriage Maine appears to have distorted a headline from the Associated Press in its new Catholic Church-sponsored television advertisement urging voters to repeal the state's marriage equality law in November.

The 30-second ad, which began airing Tuesday, includes a frame occurring at about the 18-second mark that shows the Associated Press logo attributed to the headline "Homosexual Advocacy Group Accuses Maine Diocese of Violating Tax Law."

However, as Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog points out, the AP would not use the word "homosexual" in such a context.

"That headline only exists on antigay, wingnut sites like []," writes Sudbay. "It's not from the Associated Press. We know the AP gets really irritated over use of its content. What will AP do when its content is distorted in a homophobic TV ad?"

In its style guide, the Associated Press suggests that writers avoid the use of the word "homosexual," except "in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity."

In fact, the headline as presented in the commercial appears to be a distortion of an actual May 21, 2009, headline from the AP that read, "Gay Rights Group: Maine Diocese Violating Tax Law."

Back then, gay rights advocates charged that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine was violating IRS rules by contributing to the campaign to repeal the marriage equality law in Maine.

Now, the bishop of Maine claims to have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for the antigay effort in a second collection from parishioners this past weekend. The money apparently is being used to finance a commercial that includes a distorted AP headline.

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Julie Bolcer