Cameron falsely suggested that polls show most Americans support amending U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Carl Cameron falsely suggested that public opinion polls show that most Americans support amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. While some recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be illegal, most polls that directly addressed a federal constitutional amendment show that a plurality or even a majority of Americans oppose it.

On the July 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron falsely suggested that public opinion polls show that most Americans support amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. After Cameron played a clip of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's (CA) statement from the floor of the House of Representatives on July 18, in which she said that bringing the Marriage Protection Amendment up for a vote in the House "is a partisan exercise by Republicans to divide the American people," Cameron stated: "But Republicans cite that very division in the polls which consistently show that by a 3-2 margin or better, voters think gay marriage should not be legal." Cameron then cited support for state-level initiatives banning same-sex marriage. But while some recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be illegal, most polls that directly addressed the issue Cameron was reporting on -- a federal constitutional amendment -- show that a plurality or even a majority of Americans oppose it.

For example, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted June 13-14 found that a plurality of respondents believe that states should decide "whether gays and lesbians can legally marry":

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, June 13-14

"Do you think the issue of whether gays and lesbians can legally marry should be decided at the state or federal level?"

State

48%

Federal

38%

Unsure

13%

Similarly, an ABC News poll conducted May 31-June 4 found that, given the option of allowing "each state [to] make its own laws on homosexual marriage," most Americans oppose "amending the U.S. Constitution to make it against the law for homosexual couples to get married anywhere in the U.S.":

ABC News Poll, May 31-June 4

"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?"

Amend Constitution

42%

State Laws

51%

Unsure

7%

A May 8-11 Gallup poll found that 50 percent favored a federal constitutional amendment, 47 percent opposed it, 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.

Furthermore, unlike the ABC News and Fox News polls, Gallup did not note that a federal constitutional amendment would prevent individual states from adopting their own policies on gay marriage.

From the July 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

CAMERON: For the second time in a month, lawmakers failed to approve a ban on gay marriage with a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is only between a man and woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE [video clip]: The joint resolution is not passed.

CAMERON: It easily garnered a simple majority, 236 to 187, but not the two-thirds needed to amend the Constitution. Because a similar proposed ban failed in the Senate recently and GOP voters knew they lacked enough votes in the House, Democrats accused the Republicans of blatantly trying to energize conservatives for the fall election with an issue that Democrats say is dead.

PELOSI [video clip]: The constitutional amendment that we are debating today has been brought to this floor with full knowledge that it has no prospects for success. [...] This is a partisan exercise by Republicans to divide the American people.

CAMERON: But Republicans cite that very division in the polls, which consistently show that by a 3 to 2 margin or better, voters think gay marriage should not be legal. What's more, recent actions in the states suggest, not only is gay marriage a hot-button issue, it's unpopular. Twenty states in recent years have passed gay-marriage bans. And when it appeared on their ballots, the bans were approved with strong majorities, ranging between 59 to 86 percent of the vote. This year, eight states have put gay-marriage bans on their November election ballots. Republicans call it a question of values.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ, Government
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Carl Cameron
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Polling
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