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James Dobson — Gay Activist?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:31 am - March 10, 2006.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Politics

Via Gateway Pundit (my new favorite blogger of record!)

Some fellow conservatives are criticizing Focus on the Family founder James Dobson for supporting proposed Colorado legislation to give same-sex couples limited legal protections.

The proposal would smooth the way for any two people who cannot marry to register for rights to hospital visits, making medical decisions for each other and property transfers. These rights are already available to two persons but they need lawyers to prepare paperwork.

The bill, filed by a Republican opponent of gay rights, competes with a Democratic domestic partnership measure that covers gay couples and, critics say, would treat gay couples essentially the same as married couples under the law.

Dobson said he believes in equality under the law but does not want to redefine marriage.

He told his daily radio audience, “I’m used to getting beaten from the radicals, from the left. … I really find (it) very difficult to be attacked in such an unfair way from conservatives who claim to follow the cause of Christ.”
Dr. Dobson defended his decision to back the bill in February by saying it addresses fairness for a pair of people seeking benefits.

Maybe this is really another sign of the apocolypse… instead of this?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)



  1. If he can see the fairness issue and understand that gay people form couples deserving legal status… it raises the question of why he would then want to lock all such couples into a “lite” relationship status.

    As well as the question of why he would want to undermine heterosexual marriage by having “marriage lite” open to shacked-up heterosexuals. Perhaps, in his proposed world, marriage will only be for the chosen few?

    Comment by Calarato — March 10, 2006 @ 7:52 am - March 10, 2006

  2. Well, first off, Calarato, I think it’s a misstatement to say that this bill gives anyone legal protections or recognizes relationships. Really, what it does is to create an expedited process for establishing powers of attorney.

    As well as the question of why he would want to undermine heterosexual marriage by having “marriage lite” open to shacked-up heterosexuals.

    These folks (assuming it’s a male-female unrelated couple) wouldn’t be eligible. The law says that it only applies to people who are prohibited from getting married under Colorado law.

    The main reason I think Dobson is supporting it, though, is that it facilitates the formation of extended or non-traditional family units. For instance, say we have a pair of sisters, both single moms, or perhaps widows. They are blocked from marrying each other; however, because of that, under this law, they would be able to easily make powers of attorney for each other and (most importantly) share health care benefits. Dobson’s biggest push is against single parenthood and towards, if you will, extended family units; this bill is in line with that.

    At the same time, I’m sure he has an ulterior motive in this, which is to exploit the knee-jerk reaction that most gays have to him. I already blogged on this a bit; to expand, what I think he’s hoping is that gays will automatically reject his proposal because of who he is and say it’s because it “isn’t good enough”, at which point he will respond, “Look, all you SAID you wanted was the right to visit each other in the hospital, get health care benefits, etc. I offered you that, and you rejected it. That means you’re lying and what you really want is to redefine marriage, yada yada yada”.

    In short, this isn’t ideal. But it’s not antigay, and it represents a great opening in the poker game that gays are forever playing with the religious right.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 10, 2006 @ 1:58 pm - March 10, 2006

  3. NDT:
    “I’m sure he has an ulterior motive in this, which is to exploit the knee-jerk reaction that most gays have to him.”…”In short, this isn’t ideal. But it’s not antigay…”


    Comment by Gene — March 10, 2006 @ 3:10 pm - March 10, 2006

  4. Interesting point about extended families.

    I know that I’ve said that in relation to single-parent issues and how people go on about God (or nature or whatever) intending two parents, that the situation is still the same. Someone doesn’t just need the support of another person, they need the support of a team of people. Extended families provide an extended support structure.

    If this measure can be used to support “other than marriage” domestic cooperation I can certainly see why Dobson would support it. ALSO it is true (it just is) that many people with a sincerely held religious disapproval of homosexuality really *don’t* hate homosexual people or want to see them suffer.

    Comment by Synova — March 10, 2006 @ 3:13 pm - March 10, 2006

  5. Sounds like a compromise position and a caveat that some of the complaints from gays with regard to gay marriage is a viable complaint (the very things this bill addresses). So to some degree gays should recognize a victory in that Dobson is acknowledging that there is a legitimate complaint-this move has ceeded some ground on the issue.

    His issue is that he now recognizes the need for these things, he still doesn’t want marriage itself redefined, so supports a position that is somewhere in the middle-it meets the nuts and bolts of the main complaints, without moving into redefinitions of marriage.

    Comment by just me — March 10, 2006 @ 3:40 pm - March 10, 2006

  6. I agree. The fact that Dobson is proposing whatever-it-is to answer certain complaints of gays that, now, even Dobson sees as worthy of answering… is a measure of how far we’ve come.

    Not that we don’t still have a long way to go! But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’re living in a different world today, than we were 15 years ago when I cut my teeth as an out gay activist.

    Comment by Calarato — March 10, 2006 @ 5:27 pm - March 10, 2006

  7. The reference to “not antigay” is in regard to the bill itself, Gene.

    When it comes to Dobson, no, I don’t believe his motives are entirely pure. I wholeheartedly believe that he expects this to be repudiated by gays and for us to throw our weight behind another futile Democratic attempt to pander to us, which only strengthens his case that gays will be satisfied with nothing short of the destruction of marriage.

    If we are ever to succeed, we must go past the ideological stupidity that leads us to reject him out of hand.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 11, 2006 @ 1:02 am - March 11, 2006

  8. I watched an interview with Dobson and it was clear from what he was saying that his only interest is defeating the domestic partnership bill in the Colorado legislature. In other words, if it appears gays are getting some of the rights they’ve been demanding the religious right doesn’t appear quite as villainous if it can defeat an alternative bill that goes a little farther in granting rights to gays.

    Comment by Jack Allen — March 11, 2006 @ 1:15 am - March 11, 2006

  9. He’s a real prize.

    A conservative Christian group has entered the battle in Alaska over employment benefits for partners of gay people. The Colorado-based Focus on the Family is using an automated phone system to ask whether people support or oppose a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would nullify a court decision ordering Alaska to pay such benefits.

    Comment by Carl — March 11, 2006 @ 10:44 pm - March 11, 2006

  10. Just when you think Dobson might have a “Christian”
    bone in his body, he proves once again, that he doesn’t.

    Comment by hank — March 11, 2006 @ 10:54 pm - March 11, 2006

  11. Dobson and Ralph Reed implicated in Abramoff scandal.

    Comment by Eva Young — March 12, 2006 @ 1:18 am - March 12, 2006

  12. Yes, Carl, God forbid someone call people, ask them a question on an issue, and encourage them to call their representatives about it. It’s not like gay groups ever do THAT.

    And Lloydletta, you’re smarter than that; Reed, maybe, Dobson, no. That line of logic will be dropped like a hot potato when the religious right retaliates, which will simply involve pinning as “guilty” anyone who was ever associated with Abramoff through a third party, which will nail probably ninety percent of the people associated with politics in this country.

    Furthermore, Blumenthal and The Nation? If those are the best allies one can find, you’re in pretty desperate straits. Those folks make look pro-religious; it’s just going to be interpreted as another attack by atheistic liberals.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 12, 2006 @ 6:10 pm - March 12, 2006

  13. Blumenthal was the person who broke the original story on Abramoff back in July last year.

    I quoted Blumenthal – but this is what is interesting. Marvin Oleasky – who is part of the religious right – is covering this – and is skeptical of Dobson’s story.

    Moral argument: Evangelicals typically argue that the end does not justify the means, and that if we stop acting on principle we’re just one more interest group bowling for dollars. Reed’s justification, other than self-interest, could be that he was serving a public good by using gambling money to keep gambling from spreading, and that the total amount of harm that would result from gambling addiction would be less than would otherwise be the case. But that’s the game most evangelicals refuse to play on other questions. For example, we won’t justify abortion because it might decrease the amount of poverty among single-mothers, and we won’t abandon the state of Israel in the hope that Muslim terrorists won’t attack the United States. Similarly, I suspect that most evangelicals would oppose helping the Coushatta casino to do more business in the hope that vulnerable folks in, say, Texas won’t have a casino just down the street.

    Transparency argument: Some evangelicals might disagree with that reasoning and argue that, pragmatically, we should support the lesser of two evils: better that gambling spread in Louisiana than it should spread everywhere. Evangelicals could have a good discussion about that — but Reed owes it to others, particularly his friends and supporters, to allow that discussion. If he thinks it’s fine to use gambling money (hey, it’s all green), he should not take it upon himself to decide for others how they should act. He should have informed the pastors he organized and the ministries he lobbied that he was using casino funds, so that they could make an informed choice. Instead, he kept his funding secret and worked to manipulate them.

    Effects argument: If Reed had been transparent, he would have faced disagreement but would not now be facing disgrace. He has shamed the evangelical community by providing evidence for the generally-untrue stereotype that evangelicals are easily-manipulated and that evangelical leaders are using moral issues to line their own pockets.

    EY: The question is whether Dobson was a dupe or complicit.

    Comment by Eva Young — March 12, 2006 @ 11:06 pm - March 12, 2006

  14. That’s better, Eva. And I like the way that Oleasky lays out the points.

    The quibble I have with it is that he takes in only the short-term horizon and not the longer-term.

    From my perspective, the people who made the poor decision in this case were the Coushatta. Their logic was to protect their own business by blocking the opening of another one like it. However, in the process, they were strengthening the very groups whose avowed purpose is to get rid of them as well.

    This, then, creates in my opinion a crucial flaw in Oleasky’s “morals” theory relative to this statement:

    Similarly, I suspect that most evangelicals would oppose helping the Coushatta casino to do more business in the hope that vulnerable folks in, say, Texas won’t have a casino just down the street.

    Yes — if the only perspective taken was the short-term, in which the Coushatta casino might do more business. However, strengthening the power, influence, and ability of these groups to act in opposition to gambling fits the long-term perspective, which is not only to stop gambling from spreading, but to end it where it currently is. In that context, evangelicals would have been more than happy to take Coushatta money to stop the spread of gambling — not only did it represent someone else paying for them to improve their organizational response and influence, but it was bleeding money from the casino itself.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 13, 2006 @ 1:50 pm - March 13, 2006

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