Careful to not make any live on-air mistakes, the networks moved cautiously today reporting the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage rulings. At 7 AM PT, the Court released its last set of rulings for the current with two same sex marriage decisions. With Today’s Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie heading coverage, NBC was first to go to a Special Report with their legal correspondent Pete Williams first to declare at 7:02 that the Court had struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. With George Stephanopoulos in the chair, ABC followed shortly afterward. CBS did not hit the Special Report graphic button until 7:04, with Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell coming on to talk to the CBS correspondent outside the Supreme Court building. CNN reported at 7 AM that the Court had made decision but, not wanting to repeat their mistake of initially getting the Court’s 2012 Obamacare ruling wrong, waited until 7:08 to get into the actual ruling itself. FNC reported the decision at 7:04.
Once the first decision came down, all the networks as well as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel stayed live to await the decision about California’s Prop 8, which the court eventually decided it did not have jurisdiction over — thereby making same-sex marriage legal in the Golden State. Like the first ruling, the networks and the cable newsers covered the Prop 8 decision in a stuttered procession, with ABC and NBC going first at 7:26 AM. CBS and Fox News made their call a minute later. CNN waited until 7:37. Of all the broadcasters and cable news networks, only Fox News cut to commercials throughout their coverage. CBS ended their Special Report at 7:35 going back to CBS This Morning with NBC wrapping up their coverage at 7:37 AM. ABC continued until 7:40 before cutting back to a West Coast feed of Good Morning America.