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Back to the Future: Uses of History in Newspapers and Judicial Records on Marriage Equality
Unformatted Document Text:  study of media opinion, explaining that “gay marriage” and “same-sex marriage” did not return significantly different results. 76 Because “gay marriage” is the colloquial term, they wrote, they selected it over other terms. However, a preliminary search of the online archives of the three newspapers showed a significant difference in the number of search returns for “gay marriage” and “same-sex marriage.” 77 Therefore, both terms were used to select the evidence assessed in this paper. The judicial records assessed in the proposed study were Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the Plaintiff-Intervenor-Appellee Response Brief challenging Proposition 8, and the Defendant-Intervenors’ Trial Memorandum supporting Proposition 8. Excluded from the assessment of judicial records were any formal citations of case law and legal doctrine. Assessment was focused only on references to history that bolstered legal arguments. For example, in 2006 when the New York high court upheld a marriage ban in Hernandez v. Robles, it wrote, “Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex.” 78 More subtle uses of history in Perry included references to historically “traditional” marriage. The textual evidence was interpreted through qualitative content assessment, which Marion Marzolf described as the “extensive reading of great quantities of newspapers, using the historian’s method of reading, sifting, weighing, comparing and analyzing the evidence in order to tell the story.” 79 This method requires evaluation and interpretation of qualitative, impressionistic findings to expose the “texture and richness” of texts. 80 Content assessment in this paper was guided by two categories established by Winfield, Leshner, and Kononova for uses of historical reference in the news media: to provide context or placement of event or person and to compare or analogize the present and the past. 81 A recap of the history of same-sex couples’ marriage rights in the state of California, or issue history, would be an example of using historical reference to provide context for readers unfamiliar with the issue. A reference to how extending marriage rights is necessary to bring about full marriage equality consistent with the legacy of the civil rights movement of the 1960s would be an example of using historical reference to draw an analogy 10

Authors: Li, Anqi.
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study of media opinion, explaining that “gay marriage” and “same-sex marriage” did not return 
significantly different results.
 Because “gay marriage” is the colloquial term, they wrote, they selected it 
over other terms. However, a preliminary search of the online archives of the three newspapers showed a 
significant difference in the number of search returns for “gay marriage” and “same-sex marriage.”
Therefore, both terms were used to select the evidence assessed in this paper. 
The judicial records assessed in the proposed study were Walker’s decision in Perry v. 
Schwarzenegger, the Plaintiff-Intervenor-Appellee Response Brief challenging Proposition 8, and the 
Defendant-Intervenors’ Trial Memorandum supporting Proposition 8. Excluded from the assessment of 
judicial records were any formal citations of case law and legal doctrine. Assessment was focused only on 
references to history that bolstered legal arguments. For example, in 2006 when the New York high court 
upheld a marriage ban in Hernandez v. Robles, it wrote, “Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted 
truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be 
marriages only between participants of different sex.
 More subtle uses of history in Perry included 
references to historically “traditional” marriage. 
The textual evidence was interpreted through qualitative content assessment, which Marion 
Marzolf described as the “extensive reading of great quantities of newspapers, using the historian’s 
method of reading, sifting, weighing, comparing and analyzing the evidence in order to tell the story.”
This method requires evaluation and interpretation of qualitative, impressionistic findings to expose the 
“texture and richness” of texts.
Content assessment in this paper was guided by two categories established by Winfield, Leshner, 
and Kononova for uses of historical reference in the news media: to provide context or placement of event 
or person and to compare or analogize the present and the past.
 A recap of the history of same-sex 
couples’ marriage rights in the state of California, or issue history, would be an example of using 
historical reference to provide context for readers unfamiliar with the issue. A reference to how extending 
marriage rights is necessary to bring about full marriage equality consistent with the legacy of the civil 
rights movement of the 1960s would be an example of using historical reference to draw an analogy 
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