FRI Responds to Dobson

FRI Responds to Dobson

February 9, 2006. Dr. Paul Cameron, Chairman of the Family Research Institute (FRI), a Colorado-based scientific and public policy think-tank, said that Focus on the Family’s James Dobson should “keep his cool and take a second look at what he said about me yesterday on his radio program. After all, personal attacks are no substitute for good public policy.”

In a special statement Dobson made on his daily radio broadcast, he defended his endorsement of S.B. 166, the ‘Reciprocal Beneficiaries’ bill, authored by Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield), that would grant to gay partners and others many of the legal rights currently reserved to married couples. These rights would include property-sharing, decision-making powers over funerals and organ donations and, potentially, health-care policy benefits. If adopted, the proposed legislation could force employers to cover gay partners.

Dr. Dobson defended his endorsement by saying:

“[W]hat this bill is that we have endorsed is a fairness bill with regard to need, not sexual relationships. Two elderly sisters may need benefits from the state, a father and an adult son who’s disabled might need benefits, a great grandpa and his sister living together might need benefits but it has nothing to do with a sexual relationship. I would never endorse that, I never have endorsed it, and really I don’t know what in the world has gotten into Paul Cameron that made him make a statement like this. I’ve never endorsed any bill granting gay partners legal rights currently reserved for married couples.”

“Despite his denial, the bill Dobson recently endorsed would do just that,” said Dr. Cameron. “The legal rights involved are currently reserved for married couples. Yes, the bill would also give new legal rights to elderly sisters and great grandpas living with their sisters. It is a clever ploy designed to give cover to legislators who fear voter retaliation if they voted for a straight gay rights bill. Yet Dr. Dobson said yesterday that this endorsement is consistent with what he has always preached.”

According to a Denver Post editorial, “Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based organization of conservative Christians, has endorsed a measure by Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, that would expand legal benefits to non-married heads of households, no matter the orientation of the couple. The position seemed a contrast to the group’s vigorous efforts to “preserve traditional values and the institution of the family.”

Dr. Cameron stated, “I’m sorry I made Dr. Dobson so angry. But his support for these special protections and privileges carries more weight in the political arena than a mountain of research that indicates such new rights are a very bad idea. That’s why I felt compelled to challenge him. I wish he would reconsider his gay rights positions.”

In Dobson’s on-air statement, he questioned Dr. Cameron’s credentials, stating that he “calls himself a researcher.”

“I am puzzled at Jim Dobson’s attacks on my credentials. I have published over 40 articles in refereed scientific journals on homosexuality and have written two books on the subject. I am currently a reviewer for the British Medical Journal on this topic and have appeared as an expert witness in numerous court cases involving custody battles over children by homosexual parents,” said Cameron. “I also received my Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder.”

Dr. Dobson quoted a press release FRI issued that said of him: “During the confirmation fight over Harriet Miers, Dobson, in a somewhat ambiguous manner, told his radio audience that he was in favor of gay rights.” Dr. Dobson replied: “That’s a complete fabrication. What I said is that I am in favor of gay rights in the sense that homosexuals should not be treated unfairly under the law.”

However, in October 2005, after a reference to Harriet Miers’ statement that she believed in gay rights, Dobson said on his radio broadcast “You know what? I do. I don’t believe that homosexuals should be denied a job. I don’t believe that they should not be able to buy a house. I don’t believe that they should not have the same rights everybody else does. I just don’t believe that there should be special rights given to homosexuals that are not given to everybody else.”

“Dr. Dobson may think that what he said constituted no more than an affirmation of what most people believe — that homosexuals should be governed by the same laws we all live under. If so, he said more than he intended. Under federal civil rights law, certain groups have special protections because they have been persecuted for such characteristics as race, sex, religion, ethnicity, etc. Two of those special rights relate to housing and jobs,” said Cameron.

“Homosexuals are not currently among those groups protected. Right now, if you refuse to employ a homosexual at your church or in your candy store or — out of consideration for your neighbors and their children — sell your house to a homosexual, you are within your rights to do so under federal law,” added Cameron.

According to Dr. Cameron, gay rights activists want the federal government to give them special protection in those two areas. Quite recently, after three decades of trying, the very liberal state of Washington finally passed a bill that placed homosexuals among the protected groups. Many Christians fought the legislation. The gay rights movement considered this a great victory.

“If Dr. Dobson believes that homosexuals should not be denied a job or housing because of their bedroom behavior, then he stands with the gay rights crowd on this issue. Yet he says in the above statement that he doesn’t want to give homosexuals special rights. He can’t have it both ways. He can’t give homosexuals protections currently enjoyed only by certain specified groups and at the same time claim he isn’t in favor of doing that,” said Dr. Cameron.