February 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm EDT | by Kevin Naff
Fox News pushing Md. marriage referendum

Maryland’s marriage equality law hasn’t even been signed yet, but Baltimore Fox News affiliate WBFF-45 has endorsed a referendum effort to repeal the measure.

On the WBFF website, a prominent, anchored link to the online petition calling for a referendum on marriage has been added to a homepage navigation bar. It reads “Same-Sex Marriage Petition” and links to the site gathering names to force the referendum. Opponents of the marriage law have until the end of May to collect just over 18,000 signatures, then until June 30 to gather the total of about 55,000 valid signatures.

So much for “fair and balanced.” I wonder what the gay employees of Fox News and its affiliates — like anchor Shepard Smith — think about the company endorsing this referendum. Let WBFF and Fox know what you think of their marriage opposition, email news@foxbaltimore.com or call 410-467-4545.

A WBFF employee who works on the website told me that the link did not originate with the local web staff and was posted by “corporate.” The number for that office is 410-568-1500. The person who answered that number referred me back to the local station.







Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

  • They’re also collecting names, email addresses and phone numbers of people willing to sign such a petition, under the guise of a “poll.” Doesn’t the FCC have any restrictions on companies like Fox that benefit from use of the public airwaves from engaging in such blatant direct political advocacy?

  • fox45 in baltimore is NOT owned/operated (O&O) by Fox or the parent NewsCorp. it is a local affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcasting (Hunt Valley, MD) they are notoriously anti-gay, anti-union and right-wing…even more so than News Corp/Fox, if that is possible!

  • Fox News Channell/ News Corp. does not own WBFF Baltimore. Its owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group http://www.sbgi.net/.

  • What is even worse is one of their on air personalities is gay and as far as I know openly gay.

  • Author doesn’t even know that WBFF isn’t even owned by FNC. research fail

  • I posted a question about this to the Facebook page of several of their news team. Reporter Melinda Roeder replied: “John, thanks for your post. My station has reported that there is a petition effort underway that would potentially put this controversial issue to a public vote. We have covered similiar stories regarding similiar efforts in the past – such as the petition regarding the casino at Arundel Mills. We frequently post links regarding stories that we cover so that viewers can read more about various issues and then decide for themselves if they want to take action. We post links on all sorts of stories, not just petition drives. Our anchors always advise viewers to turn to our website for links “if they wish” to do so. We have never endorsed any issue, candidate, political agenda, etc. Thank again for your interest and have a nice weekend.”

  • The public comment section at the website is here:

    The comment I submitted is as follows:

    “Why is WBFF promoting a petition on your website to put marriage equality for Gay couples in Maryland to a popular vote? Since when does the Straight (i.e. heterosexual) majority get to decide that the legal rights they take for granted should be denied to law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples? If the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been put to a popular vote in the Deep South, I think we all know how THAT would have turned out! So is it now WBFF’s official position that civil rights for minority groups should be a popularity contest? Shame on you!”

  • Please correct the information in this story to reflect that WBFF is pushing for the referendum and not Fox News. WBFF (Baltimore Ch. 45), WNUV (Baltimore Ch. 54) and 72 other TV stations are owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. You can contact Sinclair to comment at this website: http://www.sbgi.net/contact/contact.shtml.

  • I wrote in about this earlier this morning and received this response:

    As part of our effort to drive viewers to our website, we frequently tag our stories with an invitation to get more information on a subject. We take every opportunity to engage the viewer in this interactive process. The link for the petition drive against same sex marriage is just one of many examples of this interactive engagement. This is by no means an endorsement. All of our stories on this topic have been thorough and fair. Our objective is to inform our viewers and make them aware of the latest development with this piece of legislation. If our viewers want to have a voice in this debate, they can take action. We are only making them aware of the movement to fight the legislation.

    So the only way they see for their viewers to participate in the “debate” is by opposing marriage equality?

  • The Governor thinks he has pulled one over on the legal married couples, I think his bubble is going to be burst, at least I hope so.Marriage to me is sacred.A marriage between Joe and Jack, and Betty and Mary are as wrong as the day is long. I want to fight this legislation and I am willing to fill out a petition against this, I hope some one can tell me who I would contact to get my name on the list.

  • So why hasn’t the wimpish gay community in DC/Maryland already organized a boycott of advertisers on WBFF (or national advertisers on Fox)? Hit them in the pocketbook. There is nothing that displeases advertisers more than negative publicity – no less a boycott. If this happened in San Francisco, there would already be a boycott running. People here are still boycotting any business that contributed to the proposition 8 (anti- same-sex marriage law) campaign.

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