Focus on the Family's New Advertisements

Focus on the Family will air advertisements in 13 states in an attempt to pressure Senators who have opposed or have expressed opposition to the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.  Here is Focus on the Family's list of advertisements and the Senators they plan to target:

Arkansas - Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor
Colorado - Sen. Ken Salazar  
Florida - Sen. Bill Nelson  
Indiana - Sen. Evan Bayh
Louisiana - Sen. Mary Landrieu
Maine - Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe
Montana - Sen. Max Baucus  
Nebraska - Sen. Chuck Hagel  
New Hampshire - Sen. John Sununu  
North Dakota - Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad  
Pennsylvania - Sen. Arlen Specter  
Rhode Island - Sen. Lincoln Chafee
South Dakota - Sen. Tim Johnson

Bill Frist clearly coordinated this campaign with Focus on the Family before he announced the "priorities" of the US Senate for the month of June.

Here is Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery, who serves as that interest group's senior vice president of government and public policy:

"Our ads are direct and ask readers to contact their senators about their failing to support marriage between a man and a woman. ...While many of these senators claim to support traditional marriage, their actions speak clearly: They refuse to stand up and be counted in support of civilization's foundational institution. ...The American people are tired of the lip service our senators are paying to marriage. They are claiming they support marriage, but believe the states should regulate the institution. Unfortunately, that excuse expired last year, when a federal judge declared Nebraska's marriage amendment unconstitutional. The time has come for these wishy-washy senators to show their true colors - either they support traditional marriage and believe every child should have a mom and a dad, or they do not."

And here is Bill Frist on Fox News Sunday this past weekend:

That union between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of our society. It is under attack today ... [by] activist judges, unelected activist judges," he said.

So we have a unified message and a coordinated attempt to flood moderate Senators' offices with belligerent telephone calls, distracting them and the constituents they serve from gas prices, tax cuts, the increase of troop presence in Iraq and the dollar's terrible performance as compared to that of the yen and of the euro.  And the list continues.

Although their advertisements are tailored for the specific state in which they will air, all ask the following question:  "Why doesn't Senator ___ believe every child deserves a mother and a father?" And if the state's electorate passed a ballot measure, the advertisement raises the specter of the federal judge who overturned Nebraska's state marriage amendment, claiming that this too can happen in the state of the listener or the viewer.  

But Focus on the Family, and I assume they are referring to a nuclear family comprised of two parents and the children they raise, neglects to acknowledge the following: putative red states have a divorce rate 27% higher than blue states.  Directing their advertisements to states such as South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Montana and Florida, they are misplacing the blame for a child's lack of a father and a mother.  And Senators Lincoln, Pryor, Salazar, Bayh, Baucus, Hagel and Nelson of Florida should be reminded of this fact.  Gays and lesbians are not threatening marriage; those who are not prepared to fulfill the vows of that institution are undermining its integrity, or at least this is the case in putative red states.  

And if we are to telephone Senators of putative blue states, we should remind them of the following: 43% of first marriages end within 15 years.  Again, it is not gays and lesbians who are compromising the integrity of marriage; rather, it is the very people who prematurely engage in the ritual of matrimony.  

If heterosexual divorce rates are responsible for an increasing number of children raised by one parent and not a "mother" and "father" as Focus on the Family claim, then Focus on the Family should address the problem of divorce, especially in the red states where this organization gains the majority of its support.  To blame lesbians and gay men for a problem created by heterosexuals is not only dishonest; it is counterproductive, particularly for an organization that ostensibly focuses on the family.

Inform the targeted Senators of these facts, and ask Focus on the Family to focus on the real problem: young adults and teenagers who bear children who are not prepared for the institution in which Focus on the Family believes every heterosexual should partake.  If we are to defend marriage as Focus on the Family and Bill Frist define it, we should educate those who impetuously engage in this ritual of its obligations and requirements.  Blaming those who have not and cannot engage in this ritual does not address the problem their sanctified institution is facing, and this is why the federal Marriage Protection Act will be blocked by a filibuster every time Bill Frist invokes it on the floor of the Senate.

Remember to contact the Senators Focus on the Family will target.  

Baucus (D-MT) 202.224.2651

Bayh (D-IN) 202.224.5623

Chafee (R-RI) 202.224.2921

Collins (R-ME) 202.224.2523

Conrad (D-ND) 202.224.2043

Dorgan (D-ND) 202.224.2551

Hagel (R-NE) 202.224.4224

Johnson (D-SD) 202.224.5842

Landrieu (D-LA) 202.224.5824

Lincoln (D-AR) 202.224.4843

Nelson (D-FL) 202.224.5274

Pryor (D-AR) 202.224.2353

Salazar (D-CO) 202.224.5852

Snowe (R-ME) 202.224.5344

Specter (R-PA) 202.224.4254

Sununu (R-NH) 202.224.2841

Tags: Activism, Arlen Specter, Bill Frist, Bill Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Byron Dorgan, Chuck Hagel, Divorce Rates, Evan Bayh, Focus on the Family, John Sununu, Ken Salazar, Kent Conrad, Lincoln Chafee, Mark Pryor, Marriage Protection Act, Mary Landrieu, Max Baucus, Olympia Snowe, Senate, Susan Collins, Tim Johnson (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Good Diary

Very interesting post - thanks for the info.  ON some level I'm almost glad to see the "Religious Right" demanding more action on stuff like this, since it just further cements for the public who controls the Republican party today.  However, it's obviously important to make sure something ridiculous like this doesn't somehow pass.

by HSTruman 2006-05-31 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Diary

It is important for the bill to be killed, as this will disillusion conservative voters and result in low turnout on November.  Dobson, Focus on the Family and others are upset that a majority party in the House, Senate and the White House is yet to pass the homophobic legislation they promised.

by illinois062006 2006-05-31 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Diary

This bill will die and with it will die the hopes of bigots everywhere.

It's going to backfire on the GOP. All that needs to be said is that the Republicans control every branch of government. Voting them into office has done absolutely nothing to advance the agenda of the Christianists in this country.

Roe v Wade is still intact.
Legal marriage for gay couples is an inevitable truth.

Perhaps some of the bigots in the "heartland" will finally realize that politicians don't care one bit about these issues, they only use them to garner votes...knowing full well that politicians have little to no control over such cultural issues...that the constitution protects our rights to marry who we please...and a woman's right to choose.

by MNW 2006-05-31 10:39AM | 0 recs
I am married

I think you make some good points as far as divorce being the biggest threat to marriage.

I think it's important to also point out that gay couples already marry and are already parents. A marriage certificate is not required to be married or to be a parent. It is only required for legal recognition.

I am married.

I am married in my heart.
I am married in the eyes of my church.
I am married in the eyes of my God.

I am already married, but my marriage is not legally recognized.

You quote Focus on the Family's advertisement as asking the question: "Why doesn't Senator _ believe every child deserves a mother and a father?" I really don't understand how a child having a mother and father has ANYTHING to do with legal marriage. Children are not required for a legal marriage to be certified. But more importantly, legal marriage is not a requirement for parenthood. Children are born in this country every day to unwed mothers. The vast majority of these unwed mothers are impregnated by men the natural way. Some, however, are born to women who chose to get pregnant by artifical means. Some of them are lesbians. So how, exactly, does denying a lesbian couple the right to legally marry prevent them from choosing to become parents?

by MNW 2006-05-31 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: I am married

You are exactly right, and this is why I find their advertisement so objectionable.  Assuming parenthood and marriage are synonymous is one mistake, but assuming that children are without parents because of gay and lesbian marriage is an even bigger mistake.  For if gays and lesbians choose to raise children with two parents, then the child has a surrogate mother and father.  This only expands the model Focus on the Family ostensibly desires to defend.  But this is how they choose to frame their argument.  Unfortunately for them, their frame collapse upon first glance.

by illinois062006 2006-05-31 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: I am married

Quakers have no paid minister, believing that everybody in the meeting can be a minister.  

Because of that in the early years of North Carolina no Quaker was married in the eyes of the state, because the state required a minister.

Unfortunately the state is so involved with our personal lives now, that marriage in the laws of the state are now very important.

Still we marry those who love each other, are committed to each other, regardless of these foolish state laws.  My spouse and my marriage is strenghtened by these marriages.  

Now Senator Dole who married a married man with children....

by NCJim 2006-05-31 12:33PM | 0 recs
A poster at SoapBlox Colorado

linked to this statement from Dobson on the real threats to marriage:

1.  OVERCOMMITMENT AND PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION

2.  EXCESSIVE CREDIT AND CONFLICT OVER HOW MONEY WILL BE SPENT.

3.  SELFISHNESS

4.  UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH IN-LAWS

5.  UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

6.  SPACE INVADERS [ Jealousy and poor self concept ]

7.  SEXUAL FRUSTRATION AND ITS PARTNER, THE GREENER GRASS OF INFIDELITY

8.  BUSINESS COLLAPSE

9.  BUSINESS SUCCESS

10. GETTING MARRIED TOO YOUNG

11. ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

12. PORNOGRAPHY, GAMBLING AND OTHER ADDICTIONS

Notice "Divorce" is not on there, nor is "Gay Marrriage"

by pacified 2006-05-31 01:01PM | 0 recs

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