Dobson's Full of It (Once Again)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dobson's Full of It (Once Again)

In this commentary on, arch homophobe James Dobson whines that the media is largely to blame for the U.S. Senate’s recent rejection of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Here's his argument:
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.

… 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
I’m not sure what Dobson means by a “trumped-up” poll. That kind of term might accurately describe an online poll whose sample population is self-selected, but I'll bet Dobson means just about any poll that says what he doesn’t want to hear — such as this new poll released by the Pew Center.

The Pew Center compiled a list of 19 issues and asked voters how important each issue was to them. Voters ranked gay marriage dead last — 19 out of 19. Voters were twice as likely to call energy policy “very important” as they were to call gay marriage “very important.” When it came to issues deemed “very important,” even the flag-burning amendment scored 15 points higher than gay marriage.

The “poll” that Dobson says the media should have played up before the Senate vote was the decision by Alabama voters to approve a ban on same-sex marriage. A vote in Alabama is supposed to trump national polls?

But here’s the knockout blow to Dobson’s argument that voters are deeply interested in this issue. According to the Pew poll, even conservative subgroups don’t seem to view the gay-marriage issue as a priority.
* Only 43% of self-identified Republicans said the issue of gay marriage was “very important” to them. Even among those who attend religious services weekly, just 45% called it “very important.”

* Only half (50%) of self-identified white evangelicals called gay marriage “very important” to them — it rated no higher than the minimum wage. In fact, white evangelicals ranked 13 of the other 18 issues higher in importance than gay marriage.
So before Dobson can convince the Senate that gay marriage is so important that it’s worth rewriting the Constitution, he must first convince other evangelicals that they should be as panicked by the notion of same-sex marriage as he is.

Right now, they aren’t.

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