Rush Limbaugh attacked President Obama today over his support for marriage equality, accusing Obama of leading a "war on traditional marriage" and the Catholic Church while accusing same-sex marriage supporters of wanting "to corrupt the institution." However, polls show that public support for same-sex marriage has been trending upwards over the past several years, including in the Catholic community.
Obama: "I Think Same Sex Couples Should Be Able To Get Married"
On ABC, Obama Voiced Support For Marriage Equality. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts, Obama stated: "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same sex couples should be able to get married":
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday. [ABC News, 5/9/12]
Limbaugh: Obama Is "Waging" A "War" On Marriage, Catholic Church
Limbaugh: Obama "Is Going To Lead A War On Traditional Marriage." Limbaugh repeatedly accused Obama of "waging" or "leading" a "war" on "traditional marriage" on his radio show today:
LIMBAUGH: We've arrived at a point where the president of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage. You want to call that winning? Your side is winning when the president has to lead a war on traditional marriage?
LIMBAUGH: Obama and people like [caller] are trying to turn traditional institutions on their head. And people like me who are minding their own business all of a sudden have to stand up and defend these traditions and institutions from people like you, and now the president who's waging a war on traditional America.
LIMBAUGH: Marriage is a word. It has a specific meaning. And all of a sudden, some people came along and said 'well, we want to change the definition.' No, you don't want to change the definition. You want to corrupt the institution is what you want to do. 'How dare you say that? We don't want to - we want in on the institution.' Well then, marry a woman. Or marry a man. That's what marriage is.
LIMBAUGH: There's no other way to characterize it, Barack Obama is leading a war on gay marriage, just like he's leading a war on the Catholic Church, the war on stay-at-home moms.
LIMBAUGH: It's official. Obama supports gay marriage after talks with his wife and daughters, gay service members, and others. Pink smoke coming from the White House chimney. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/9/12 via Media Matters]
Most Americans Support Marriage Equality
Gallup: More Americans Support Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage. From a May 2012 Gallup poll:
Pew Research Center President: "Acceptance Of Gay Marriage Has Grown Steadily Over The Past Eight Years." Pew Research Center president Andrew Kohut recently wrote:
Acceptance of gay marriage has grown steadily over the past eight years. By 2008, support for gay marriage had risen to 39 percent, while opposition had slipped to 52 percent. And in recent years, support has markedly increased as opposition has ebbed. Today, the latest Pew Research Center survey finds a 47 to 43 percent plurality favoring gay marriage, with as many Americans saying they strongly favor (22 percent) as saying they strongly oppose (22 percent).
Much of the growing support for gay marriage is generational. Majorities of the millennial generation, who were a very small share of the electorate in 2004 when the gay marriage issue rallied the conservative base, have grown in number and have consistently favored. But also, many older Americans have changed their minds. Since 2004, support for gay marriage has increased from 30 percent to 40 percent among baby boomers, and even among seniors (from 18 percent to 32 percent). (On balance, though, most members of this generation remain opposed, at 56 percent.)
A good deal of increased support for gay marriage reflects growing public acceptance of homosexuality. In 1994, when the Pew Research Center first began asking the public about societal acceptance, Americans were evenly divided as to whether homosexuality should be accepted or discouraged. However, views changed markedly over the next 17 years. By 2011, 58 percent of the public said it favored acceptance while just a third (33 percent) continued to favor discouragement.
While there remains a huge partisan gap on acceptance of homosexuality in general and gay marriage specifically, the political prospects for the issue are far different than they were two election cycles ago. It has become a lower priority issue for voters, and the partisan intensity gap is not as overwhelmingly one sided as it once was. Today there are almost as many strong supporters of gay marriage among Democrats (34 percent) as there are strong opponents among Republicans (40 percent). [The New York Times, 4/16/12]
Public Support For Gay Marriage "Has Accelerated Dramatically In The Last 2 Years." A July 2011 poll from the Benenson Strategy Group and Voter Consumer Research found that support for marriage equality "has increased over the years and that the rate of increase has accelerated dramatically in the last 2 years."
[Freedom to Marry, 7/27/11]
Pew: "Broad Declines In Opposition To Gay Marriage." From a 2012 Pew Research Center study showing large declines in opposition to same-sex marriage, including among Catholics:
[Pew Research Center, 4/25/12]
Limbaugh Has A History Of Engaging In Bigoted Attacks Against LGBT Community
Limbaugh: Marriage Equality Is "Ripp[ing]" Marriage "To Shreds." During the February 24, 2012, edition of his show, Limbaugh commented on a judge ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional:
LIMBAUGH: Just took it upon himself to say that a piece of legislation is unconstitutional. Defending traditional values is not modern? It's off topic? Attacking them is modern and good politics? That's what we're to believe here? All we're doing is defending traditional values. All we're doing is defending the institutions and the traditions that have made this country great, and apparently that's what you're not supposed to do? "No, no, don't do that! Mr. Limbaugh, you're just gonna make people nervous. Women aren't going to understand." You wouldn't believe the emails. "Rush, women's brains can't compute this way. You're making a big mistake here by just bringing this up." Oh, so we can't defend all these great traditions, but the left can attack them? The left can attack them and rip them apart and tear them down, and that's good politics? Is that what we're to believe? We're supposed to sit by while great traditions and institutions like marriage are ripped to shreds. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/24/12]
Limbaugh Denigrated Slain LGBTQ Teen For Exploring His Sexuality. On the November 22, 2011, edition of his show, Limbaugh claimed that Larry King, a 15-year-old openly gay student who was killed by a reportedly homophobic classmate, was exploring whether he needed a "chop-a-dick-offa'-me operation," stating:
LIMBAUGH: He was showing up in school dressed as a woman -- was wearing dresses. He was bothering the other boys. His mother called the school. She was worried about her son's behavior. She asked the school to keep a sharp eye out for him, that she was worried that his behavior was going to cause something unfortunate to happen to him. We're talking 14-, and 15-, 16-year-olds here. Her son dresses up as a woman, goes to school, and starts lavishing attention on other boys.
When she told school officials about this, she says, again, that school officials told her that there was nothing they could do. That her son had a civil right to explore his sexual identity, meaning he had a right to come to school dressed as a girl. He had a right to come to school dressed in female attire -- he was wearing dresses. He had a right to explore whether or not he was a woman in a boy's body. He had the right to explore whether at some point he was going to need a chop-a-dick-offa'-me operation. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/22/11]
Limbaugh Ridiculed Gender Reassignment Surgery. On the January 19, 2011, edition of his show, Limbaugh called gender reassignment surgery an "add-a-dick-to-me" procedure, saying:
LIMBAUGH: Let me put this in perspective for you, folks. The Democrats and the media put forth this challenge -- oh, what are you gonna cut? You're saying you're going to cut spending -- what are you gonna cut? What are you gonna cut? And then we hear that the city of Berkeley is going to start paying for chop -- add-a-dick-to-me's. Sex change operations. And they -- what do we want to cut? Well, I ask you. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/19/11]