In his daily radio address on January 27, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council (FRC), falsely suggested that if President Bush were to actively push for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he would "stand with a majority of Americans." In fact, recent polling has shown that a majority of Americans do not support amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
From the January 27 edition of FRC's Washington Watch:
Leading up to this week, right before the inaugural, President Bush reported in the [Washington] Post some comments regarding marriage and the fact that it [amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage] did not look good in the Senate and the Senate did not want to move forward with it, and therefore he was not going to imply that he was not going to spend a lot of political capital.
We were concerned about those remarks and have been in communication with those in the White House about that. And we want to reassure the President that he's not going to -- it's not going to cost him political capital to stand with a majority of Americans.
Perkins was apparently referring to an exchange between Bush and Washington Post reporters Michael A. Fletcher and Jim VandeHei during an interview published January 16, in which Bush said that "so long as DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton] is deemed constitutional ... nothing will happen in the Senate." A January 19 Post article reported that "Bush came under fire from some social conservatives yesterday for saying he will not aggressively lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage during his second term" and noted that "Perkins called the White House to complain about Bush's position."
But Perkins's assertion that Bush would "stand with a majority of Americans" if he actively endorsed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is belied by national polling. Most recently, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted December 7 through December 12, 2004, found that "[v]oters oppose 53-43 percent amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same sex marriage." A TIME magazine poll conducted October 14 through October 15, 2004, reported that 54 percent of voters oppose "a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying," with 41 percent supporting it. And while a Los Angeles Times poll conducted October 21 through October 24, 2004, found 49 percent in favor of an amendment banning same-sex marriage and 46 percent against it, the amendment still did not have majority support, and the results were within the poll's three-point margin of error.