Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note:This is another in a series of WND/WENZEL Polls conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Almost half of Americans believe that Christians in the United States are being persecuted by homosexual “marriage” advocates who take legal action against them over their religious beliefs, and almost one in three Democrats believes such treatment is “necessary,” according to the alarming results of a new poll
The results are from a WND/WENZEL Poll conducted for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The scientific telephone survey was conducted April 19-21 and has a margin of error of 3.23 percentage points. It found that 49.2 percent of all respondents consider the legal activism against Christians and their beliefs regarding homosexuality to be “persecution.”
The question was, “There is a trend developing in which gay activists are filing lawsuits against people who refuse to do business with them on moral/religious grounds – such as when a New Mexico photographer was sued by a lesbian couple for refusing to photograph their wedding. Knowing this, which of the following statements most closely represents what you think about this?”
More than two of three Republicans called it “persecution of Christians,” along with 45 percent of independents. Even 33.1 percent of Democrats had he same answer.
But 31 percent of Democrats, as well as 12 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of independents, said, “Such tactics are necessary.”
In the New Mexico case, Judge Alan Malott ordered Elane Photography, run by a Christian husband and wife, to pay two lesbians some $6,600 for refusing to take photographs at a “wedding” for Vanessa Willock and Misty Pasconttini, even though the state didn’t recognize the “marriage.”
The judge noted that homosexuals have been given special protections.
Large numbers (35.8 percent of Democrats, 20.4 percent of Republicans and 30.7 percent of independents) said they were not sure, even though when voters around the nation have been given the opportunity to define marriage in their state law or constitution, they have picked a one-man-one-woman definition of marriage 31 times out of 31 votes.
“Regarding the development of a trend toward legal activism on the part of gays who file lawsuits against those who refuse to do business with them on moral or religious grounds, the survey found strong opposition to such tactics,” Fritz Wenzel said in an analysis of the results.
“While 22 percent said such measures are necessary to push for greater rights for gays, 49 percent said they felt such lawsuits represented an attack, or persecution against Christians who take their religious beliefs seriously. Overall, 29 percent said they were unsure on the question. Again, younger respondents were much more likely to support such tactics by gay activists, but those over age 40 were strongly opposed to it.”
The survey also asked about the federal Defense of Marriage Act – a law that was signed by President Clinton but now has been abandoned by President Obama, whose Justice Department announced it no longer would defend it.
The new WND/WENZEL poll shows that 44.7 percent of the respondents said state decisions regarding same-sex duos should stand, while 37.7 percent said DOMA should be overturned. About one in six were uncertain.
The results included 49.7 percent of Democrats who want DOMA overturned, and 60.5 percent of Republicans and 46.2 percent of independents who say the state laws should stand.
“More people than not oppose the efforts by congressional Democrats, the Obama Justice Department, and others to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996,” Wenzel’s analysis said. “The act, which states that if a same-sex couple is married in one state, other states where such marriages are illegal cannot be forced to recognize that union, is supported by 45 percent of respondents. Another 38 percent said DOMA should be overturned, while 18 percent were unsure.”
The third question addressed whether people are “born gay,” as homosexual activists allege.
“There was a dramatic split along philosophical lines on the question of whether people are ‘born gay’ and that sexual orientation is an unchangeable characteristic,” the analysis said.
“Overall, 38 percent said they believed it was unchangeable, while 40 percent said they disagreed that people are born gay. Among liberals, 66 percent said they think people are born either straight or gay, while just 17 percent of conservatives agreed. The genders disagreed sharply on this question, as 47 percent of women said they think people are born gay but just 28 percent of men agreed.”
The sharpest dispute over homosexual “marriage” has developed over the last few years in California. There, the state Supreme Court created homosexual “marriage” early in 2008, only to see the decision reversed in that year’s election when voters adopted Proposition 8, limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
The motion argues federal law requires “that a judge recuse himself whenever he has an ‘interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding’ or more generally, in any other circumstance in which ‘his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
The motion contends that both requirements prohibited the judge from ruling in the case, because since the ruling that overturned the will of 7 million voters, he has admitted to a long-term same-sex relationship.
That relationship would make him eligible for social or possibly financial benefits from his own ruling, analysts have told WND.
“The American people have a right to a fair judicial process, free from even the appearance of bias or prejudice,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com and one of more than 2,000 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “Judge Walker’s 10-year-long same-sex relationship creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial judge the law requires. He was obligated to either recuse himself or provide full disclosure of this relationship at the outset of the case. These circumstances demand setting aside his decision.”
The motion also explains it “is grounded in the fundamental principle … that no judge ‘is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome. …’ Surely, no one would suggest that Chief Judge Walker could issue an injunction directing a state official to issue a marriage license to him. Yet on this record, it must be presumed that that is precisely what has occurred.”
The California dispute is whether homosexual duos have “a federal constitutional right” to have their relationships recognized as marrages. Walker ruled they do.
“The district who issued this judgment, retired Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, has now disclosed to the press on April 6, 2011, that he is gay and that he has been in a committed relationship for more than 10 years. Dan Levine, Gay judge never thought to drop marriage case, Reuters, Apr. 6, 2011,” according to the motion.
“He therefore, had, at a minimum, a waivable conflict and was obligated either to recuse himself or to provide ‘full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification,’” the motion said.
Walker’s 136-page ruling said, “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”
In his ruling, Walker also arrived at the following highly controversial legal findings:
“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
“Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
“The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
“Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”
His decision ignored a warning from California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, who dissented when his court created same-sex “marriage” in the state.
Baxter wrote, “The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter wrote.
Attorneys in Canada now are arguing in a case that because restrictions on same-sex “marraige” have been removed, so should limits on polygamy.