In CNN guest column, Dobson mischaracterized same-sex marriage debate, suggesting public support for constitutional banJune 30, 2006 4:46 PM EDT ››› ROB DIETZ
In a June 28 guest commentary posted on CNN.com, Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson mischaracterized the same-sex marriage debate to baselessly suggest that there is strong public support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Criticizing senators who voted against the constitutional amendment for "turn[ing] their backs" on the "most basic social institution" of marriage, Dobson disputed the significance of "trumped-up polls" from the "liberal press" showing public opposition to the amendment by touting "the 19 states in which voters overwhelmingly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman." In fact, while some recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe same sex marriage should be illegal, that was not the issue before Congress. Rather, Congress specifically faced the question of whether to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Contrary to Dobson's claim, on that issue, the most recent polls show that a majority of Americans agree with those senators who voted against the constitutional amendment.
Dobson also repeated his comparison of efforts to ban gay marriage with the abolitionist movement to end slavery. Dobson previously argued that allowing same-sex marriage in the United States would lead to "group marriage," "marriage between daddies and little girls," or "marriage between a man and his donkey."
A June 13-14 Fox News poll found that 48 percent of respondents thought the gay marriage issue should be decided at the state level, while 38 percent thought it should be decided at the federal level and 13 percent said they didn't know. Additionally, an ABC News poll released June 5 asked, "Would you support amending the U.S. Constitution to make it against the law for homosexual couples to get married anywhere in the U.S., or should each state make its own laws on homosexual marriage?" Forty-two percent said the Constitution should be amended, while 51 percent said the issue should be left to the states. A May 8-11 Gallup poll found that 50 percent favored the amendment, 47 percent opposed, and 3 percent were unsure, but even that poll showed support for a constitutional amendment declining in recent months, down from 57 percent in a poll conducted March 18-20.
From Dobson's June 28 CNN.com guest column:
Rarely has there been a greater disconnect between members of the Senate and the American people who put them in power. With the help of the media, which laid down "cover" by claiming voters didn't care about marriage, 40 Democrats, one Independent and seven Republicans turned their backs on this most basic social institution.
Let's examine the claim that traditional marriage lacks support in the court of public opinion. As it always does when conservative issues are being debated, the liberal press produced a series of trumped-up polls indicating the issue was of no interest nationally. However, there was another "poll" that the media completely ignored. In fact, there were 19 of them. They represented the 19 states in which voters overwhelmingly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. Not one state has chosen by popular vote to permit marriages between homosexuals. Support for the family has been affirmed in every instance.
So where does the [marriage] issue go from here? Time will tell. It took William Wilberforce more than 30 years to bring about an end to Britain's slave trade in the 1800s. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of a protracted victory.
If the battle to protect marriage takes even five more years, liberal judges and activists will have destroyed this 5,000-year-old institution, which was designed by the Creator, Himself. Even now, they are close to achieving that coveted objective.