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Dobson on FMA: Call Senators ‘until the switchboard smokes’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Focus on the Family’s James Dobson broke new ground on his radio broadcast July 7, telling where all 100 U.S. Senators stand on the Federal Marriage Amendment and encouraging his listeners to flood the nation’s capital with phone calls.

“Call them every day,” he said. “Get all your friends to call. Call until the switchboard smokes.”

Dobson’s plea came on the eve of debate in the Senate on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would protect the traditional definition of marriage, thus banning same-sex “marriage.” Debate is scheduled to begin July 12.

“These are Democrats and Republicans — some of them conservative — who will not commit to voting to protect marriage,” he said. “… They’ve been conservative on so many issues, but when it comes to this issue, they are terrified of the homosexual lobby.”

According to Dobson only 33 Senators — 32 Republicans and one Democrat — have stated they will back the Federal Marriage Amendment. The other 67 Senators either have stated their opposition or remain undecided, he said.

For the amendment to pass it must garner the votes of 67 Senators. But for it to get that far, it must get 60 votes simply to prevent a filibuster. Congressional experts say it is uncertain whether the amendment can reach even the 60-vote threshold.

Phone calls, Dobson said, can make the difference. Senators who support the amendment, he said, have requested that people call Washington.

“Our friends in the Senate are begging us to do what we have done today,” he said. [They have said,] ‘Please ask the people to call. It’s the only way we’re going to win this.'”

Dobson and guests on the program answered objections to the amendment. Alan Sears, president of the Alliance Defense Fund, said that contrary to what some believe, the Defense of Marriage Act — signed into law in 1996 — is not sufficient protection against the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

“One of these out-of-control sets of courts can strike that down, and we have chaos at the federal level,” he said.

A federal amendment, Sears said, “takes it out of the jurisdiction of [the] court.”

The irony, Dobson said, is that in June the Senate passed a bill adding sexual orientation to the list of hate crimes. It still must pass the House.

“It tells you a whole lot about the Senate,” he said. “The Senate that passed hate crimes legislation with hardly a whimper … they are not willing to defend marriage. That bothers me a lot.”

While Dobson often deals with hot-button issues on his radio program, he rarely if ever goes as far as he did July 7 by naming each individual Senator and requesting action on the part of the audience. In fact, before he read the list he said he was doing something he’s “never done before and never been able to do before.”

Because of tax laws the broadcast was not paid for with Focus on the Family funds but instead by a separate organization, Focus on the Family Action, which was started to fund pro-family political efforts.

The Senate amendment is SJR 30.

According to Dobson 67 Senators either are opposed to the amendment or are undecided. They are:

Daniel Akaka (D.-Hawaii), Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), Evan Bayh (D.-Ind.), Robert Bennett (R.-Utah), Joseph Biden (D.-Del.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), John Breaux (D.-La.), Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.), Ben Campbell (R.-Colo.), Maria Cantwell (D.-Wash.), Thomas Carper (D.-Del.), Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.), Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R.-Maine), Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.), Jon Corzine (D.-N.J.), Thomas Daschle (D.-S.D.), Mark Dayton (D.-Minn.), Mike DeWine (R.-Ohio), Christopher Dodd (D.-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D.-N.D.), Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.), John Edwards (D.-N.C.), Russell Feingold (D.-Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), Bob Graham (D.-Fla.), Judd Gregg (R.-N.H.), Chuck Hagel (R.-Neb.), Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa), Ernest Hollings (D.-S.C.), Daniel Inouye (D.-Hawaii), James Jeffords (I-Vt.), Tim Johnson (D.-S.D.), Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.), John Kerry (D.-Mass.), Herb Kohl (D.-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D.-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), Carl Levin (D.-Mich.), Joseph Lieberman (D.-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D.-Ark.), Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), John McCain (R.-Ariz.), Barbara Mikulski (D.-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska), Patty Murray (D.-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D.-Fla.), Ben Nelson (D.-Neb.), Don Nickles (R.-Okla.), Mark Pryor (D.-Ark.), Jack Reed (D.-R.I.), Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.), John Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.), Paul Sarbanes (D.-Md.), Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), Gordon Smith (R.-Ore.), Olympia Snowe (R.-Maine), Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.), Debbie Stabenow (D.-Mich.), John Sununu, R.-N.H., Craig Thomas (R.-Wyo.), George Voinovich (R.-Ohio), John Warner (R.-Va.), Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.).
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust