On Kreg's List, Real Conservatives Wanted
The courts aren't the only ones making a judgment call on marriage -- so are American voters. And in the court of public opinion, the outcome isn't nearly as one-sided. With gavels striking down state amendments faster than you can say "judicial activism," most Americans haven't budged from their support of natural marriage. If anything, the more openly liberals attack, the stronger the opposition becomes.
A new survey of battleground districts shows that a majority of voters are solidly in the pro-marriage camp, edging out the far-Left by four points. While the media looked the other way on the first two polls (Rasmussen's and FRC's), it will have a difficult time doing so here. This latest survey, commissioned by Politico, is already catching the attention of the chattering class, which wrongly assumed the debate was dead and buried. Unlike other outlets, Politico's questioning was fairly straight-forward, asking simply, "Do you support or oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry?"
By 52-48%, voters opposed -- but it may be the strength of their answers that's telling. Conservatives had a seven-point advantage among those who felt "strongly" about their position. As a follow-up, Politico asked how much the issue of marriage would impact who they voted for in November. Sixty-two percent said it was "important" in determining which candidate they supported. In other words, marriage isn't just a hot issue this election -- it could be a deciding one.
Indiana State Rep. Kreg Battles (D) obviously thought so. After watching so many of his colleagues pay for their same-sex "marriage" support, the four-term leader dropped out of his reelection race late last week to avoid embarrassment. Battles, who outraged his district when he switched sides on marriage, was locked in a tight race with former state Rep. Bruce Borders (R), a pro-family conservative who was making Kreg's betrayal a centerpiece of his campaign. As FRC found (and Rep. Battles learned), voters -- especially Republican and Republican-leaning Independents, are looking for politicians who will stand up and fight the cultural elites and their radical agenda to redefine marriage. Obviously the media, the Left's ring bearer in this debate, is a false measure of public opinion. Like too many moderate Republicans, the press is only seeing what it wants to see.
Everyone else's eyes are wide open, thanks to the avalanche of attacks thundering down on anyone with a natural view on marriage -- from network television and bank brokers to Internet companies and city councils. Even the President of the United States, who only recently hopped aboard the same-sex "marriage" express, is piling on with outlandish public statements against a sentiment he used to share. On the 10th anniversary of Massachusetts's court-imposed same-sex "marriage," the White House marked the day by railing against "homophobia" and "transphobia." The same President who couldn't be bothered to acknowledge Armed Forces Day found more than enough time to lecture Americans on an agenda tearing apart the very military he ignored. And if these polls are any indication, his heavy-handed approach is already backfiring -- a fact the GOP would be wise to capitalize on.
Benhams Rely on Son Trust, Win Back SunTrust
The folks at SunTrust Banks didn't need to commission polling to find out how Americans feel on marriage -- they heard from thousands of them first hand. Barely a day after the company suddenly dropped the Benham brothers, former major-league baseball-players-turned-real-estate-entrepreneurs, from their property listings, SunTrust was so overwhelmed by customer complaints that it reconsidered.
In a tweet to fans, the brothers cheered the move. "Today SunTrust heard from you. Our listings have been returned to our talented and hard-working franchisees" The decision (and reversal of that decision) came just a week after HGTV bowed to homosexual activists and canceled a home-flipping show David and Jason were set to headline because of their Christian beliefs on marriage and abortion.
For now, SunTrust seems to be in full damage control mode, refusing to answer questions about whose decision it was to cut ties with the Benhams and why. Beth McKenna, a SunTrust spokesperson, said only that the bank "clarified" its policies with a "vendor" and reinstated the brothers' property partnership. "SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion."
While we applaud SunTrust's return to common sense, plenty of questions remain about what appears to be the intentional targeting of Christian customers. That kind of fierce intolerance has no place in the free market -- and we appreciate every one of you who called SunTrust and told them so. So do the Benhams, who released this video and a note to the "many thousands who came together and collectively raised their voices in a united call for tolerance, fairness, and equality for all Americans. This also applies to those who hold to a biblical worldview, which includes respect for life and natural marriage."
You'll have the chance to thank the brothers in person at this year's Values Voter Summit, where David and Jason will both be speaking. They may not be welcome on HGTV's stage, but they're more than welcome on ours!
Frankly Franklin: Graham Speaks Candidly on Marriage
If anyone understands the challenges facing the Benham Brothers, it's Rev. Franklin Graham. The famous son of evangelist Billy Graham has been disinvited from his share of events, simply for speaking the "whole counsel of God." And if his latest column in Decision magazine is any indication, he has no plans of backing down any time soon. To the growing number of weak-kneed church leaders, Franklin admonishes, "True followers of Jesus... cannot endorse same-sex marriage." Regardless of what our government, courts, or latest polls say about the matter, it was "settled by God Himself and is not subject to man-made revisions or modifications." It's a theme that Dr. Michael Brown echoed in his policy lecture here at FRC last week, "Can you be gay and Christian?"
Franklin's piece, "A Flood of Compromise," also hits on the latest controversies -- from "Duck Dynasty" to World Vision -- reminding wobbly believers that "this debate is ultimately about something much more important than the question of same-sex marriage. It is about the great compromise, calling into question the authority of Scripture." It's time, Franklin insists, for a discussion of unity within the church "to come into alignment with God's Word on the issue of marriage." The alternative, he hints, is nothing short of spiritual disaster.
At FRC, our admiration of Franklin has only grown over the past years, when the cultural winds have blown the strongest. He still stands, uncompromising, in the storm. It's this kind of faithfulness that makes FRC proud to honor him for at this week's Watchmen on the Wall conference. You can see that and more from this year's conference by clicking over to the live webcast here.
** What have we learned from the Justine Pelletier case? That the government is a terrible parent. Find out more in Josh Duggar's new op-ed for Fox News.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.