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Oh, but FRC: No poll supports your 'no legal recognition' view!

by Jeremy Hooper

Oh, the ever deceptive Family Research Council. Check out this little snippet from yesterday's "washington Update" column, and then I'll get back to you:

This week, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) pitch to bring San Francisco values to the entire country by making same-sex "marriage" an official part of the Democratic platform. The Caucus's Co-Chairs, Reps. Paul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), signed the "Democrats: Say, I Do!" pledge, which claims 70% of Americans suddenly support homosexual "marriage." That's odd, since the latest New York Times/CBS poll found only 40% backing for counterfeit marriage (Question 70). [FRC]

Okay, so that last line sounds really good for FRC's agenda, right? Well, as we all know, "sounds like" and "is" are very different things in the far-right, "pro-family" world, where bearing false witness seems to matter little, so long as said witness casts a heavy haul of stones at the nearest same-sex couple.

Here's what that NYT/CBS question really revealed:

Screen Shot 2012-03-01 At 7.58.30 Am

Okay, so first thing you have to consider: The civil unions factor. The Family Research Council opposes civil unions. Always. Strongly. So don't count any of that 23% in FRC's camp. FRC's stake is 100% in the "No legal recognition" column (*See the last bullet point on this FRC Issue Brief).

So about that "No legal recognition" field: 31% opposition is low, which is bad enough for FRC's interest. But even more than just the current low, look back at the 4/22-26/09 row, when the big shift really beta. Prior to that point, the opposition figure never dipped below 35%, and reliably pushed into or near the 40% mark. The pro-marriage figure, prior to that '09 point, never went above 34%. But since then? Those numbers have pretty much flipped. That is huge! It is a clear indication of what has happened in this country in the past two years, showing an America that has entered into a period of drastic shift. And of course, a clear indication of the dwindling FRC view.

And going back to that civil unions factor for a second: We also know that civil union supporters, when they give more serious consideration to the implications of supporting a separate system or start to hear the inequalities attached to the same, have a way of moving over to the full marriage equality side. It's very rare for someone to go from a place of civil unions support to a place of "no legal recognition" (which, again, is the FRC view). It's more than logical to think that a major portion of the 23% currently in the civl unions column will drift our way over the next few years. Or at the very least, logical to assume that, if and when marriage equality does make its way to these civil unions supporters' states, they are not going to have an issue with that -- at least not enough of an issue to become the kind of "protect marriage" warrior that FRC wants and needs to recruit.

So in short: Yes, FRC: This particular poll does only show 40% in full favor of full equality. But let's get real here: That is not the big takeaway for those of you collect paychecks off a "NO EQUALITY! WHATSOEVER" stance. The big takeaway is in the drift of a nation that has, in less than a decade, brought equality to a number of states, greater peace of mind to a number of families, and more rational conversation to a number of lips. If the constant spin games that define the "pro-family" movement are not enough to keep FRC staffers up at night, then these trend lines certainly should!

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