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05/23/2011

Focus responds to prez' marriage concession; been conceding for years, apparently

by Jeremy Hooper

On Saturday, we showed you how Focus on the Family president and CEO Jim Daly is admitting that his side has "probably lost" the marriage fight. Now, in a G-A-Y exclusive, FOtF's VP of Ministry Communications, Gary Schneeberger, gives us this comment:

focusJim was asked a question in an interview and honestly acknowledged what the cultural trend is in polling on same-sex marriage, especially among younger Americans. Some commentators have treated his answer as big news, but it’s really just another expression of what he’s been saying for years: Christians can’t expect the culture to be the church. As followers of Christ, and believers in God’s Word, we are called to speak the truth in love, and advocate for it respectfully in public policy, regardless of opinion polls or shifting political winds.

“America's changing attitudes on same-sex marriage, as Jim also told World, should not discourage Christians. Through our sister organization, CitizenLink, we will continue to advance marriage-protection amendments and legislation, encouraged by the fact that voters in 31 states have defended marriage at the ballot box. Beyond the realm of policy, though, we hope this moment in time will be embraced by Christians as an opportunity to do a better job modeling the beauty and permanence of one-man, one-woman marriage. By strengthening our own marriages, and those in our faith communities, we offer strength to the culture.

Well okay. As far as we're concerned on marriage, it's the secular culture that we care about, not Focus on the Family's personal view of church. So on the "Jim's been saying it for years" point: Well if Mr. Daly has been feeling this way for years, then we hope that now that it's all out in the open, he'll refocus his energies towards helping us highlight the civil marriage/religious ceremony separation that already exists here in America. That seems to be the route towards peace, or, at the very least, tolerance.

But honestly, in regards to Schneeberger's point on how much this matters: Well, we in LGBT commentariat don't really need to decide whether or not it's "big news." As far as Focus' primary interests are concerned, it's the "pro-family" community that will largely determine the newsworthiness of Daly's admission. Through support. Through donations. Through everything that keeps Focus at the forefront of socially conservative political advocacy. This concession is really just more of what Daly's been feeling for years? Well alright, fine. Focus supporters will have to ask themselves: (a) Whether or not they knew he felt this way, (b) whether or not they feel in any way duped by it, and (c) whether this development spurs them to send a portion of the family lucre towards Colorado Springs.

Personally, if the Human Rights Campaign came out and threw in the towel in this way on any one of our key issues, I most likely wouldn't trust their organizational stewardship. I definitely would question it, at the very least. So for Daly to come out this way on the *KEY* issue on which groups like Focus have based their past 10-15 years of political engagement? Well again: The "pro-family" marketplaces, both of ideas and commerce, will play out as they will. Consumers will determined whether or not they continue to trust the "marriage protective" efforts of a group whose top dog has all but declared marriage equality to be a fait accompli.

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