Though the Senate opened debate on July 9 on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, MSNBC host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL) featured just one guest in a July 12 Scarborough Country segment discussing the proposed amendment: Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing Christian political advocacy organization the Family Research Council. With a Senate vote on the proposed amendment likely to take place just two days later, on July 14, Scarborough gave Perkins -- whom Scarborough describes as one of the "strongest backers" of the ban -- airtime to push for the ban with no one to present an opinion to the contrary.
Scarborough did not say whether he supported or opposed the proposed amendment, though he did state that he voted in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which according to a 1996 CNN.com article "den[ied] federal recognition of same-sex marriages and g[ave] states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states." Scarborough questioned Perkins on his position on states' rights and on whether the Bush administration is using the issue of same-sex marriage to "win votes," asking, "Why aren't you supporters of states' rights when it comes to marriage?" and "Tony, isn't the president of the United States using this gay marriage issue just to win votes and create a wedge issue, as The New York Times said this morning?" But when Perkins dismissed these concerns, Scarborough did not question him further.