Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 27, 2009 1:15PM

Dobson resigns as head of Focus on the Family

Rate: 23 Flag

James Dobson, founder and head of the Focus on the Family religious education and lobbying organization, is stepping down, the Associated Press reported.

The 72-year-old Dobson, a psychologist by training, has been one of the most powerful religious conservatives in the U.S. for decades. His Focus on the Family organization, despite a financial downturn in recent years, is one of the most influential right-wing Christian organizations. It was a major donor to California's anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8, and its daily radio program is heard on hundreds of religious radio stations around the country.

However, the Proposition 8 win (after which Dobson said he was "jubilant" over the anti-gay law) may have been the group's high point. Earlier this month they lost a battle when the Colorado House passed a domestic partners health care bill. And while it was giving lavishly to the Prop. 8 battle, it continued to suffer financially, laying off 20% of its staff.

The new head of the organization is a retired Air Force general -- Colorado Springs is also home to the Air Force Academy, which has been the site of alleged proselytizing by evangelical Christians -- who is also a former executive with defense contractor Northrup Grumman.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Good riddance to bad rubbish!


Thanks for the update.
Thanks for posting this.

I agree with Bill: good riddance. He was part of a horrible movement that did the country more harm then good. They are all stepping off the stage, getting swept off, or just plain dying. I doubt any will be missed.
Oh no! Wherever will they find another demon walking the earth pretending to be a human being to take his place?
Very interesting. I am glad to see him go, but even happier that his group is broke. It is another sign of how bad Bush and Co. fucked up the economy and of how deep and unexpected the consequences will be. The NBA is broke, Warren Buffet just lost 2 billion and evangelical titans are short of cash. Time to be frugal, no doubt, but also a sign that when we rise out of this mess that the landscape of who has power and what that power is based on might be very different.
Too bad Focus isn't shutting down as Dobson leaves. Even in a diminished capacity, they still can (and will) cause a great deal of harm.
Allie - don't worry. I'm sure there will be no problem finding someone else with a God complex to take over his chair.
The morality police will never have a problem finding lieutenants
Very interesting, indeed. I hadn't heard the news. Thanks for sharing.
I hope the loss of leadership hastens tbe diminition of this group's power and influence. This man (and his organization) hurt many, many people.
I wonder how many people are closeted and in anguish and how many children of "christian" families are full of despair because of this guy.....
And isn't it amazing how many of those christianist types are connected to the corporate military business... Complete paradox with their supposed theological roots.

In the end it's all about controlling others in order to build their empires with these people.
Let us hope as he does so that his stepping down also involves a fall and a numerous shattered vertebrae...

jus' sayin'...
Yeah, when I read the Focus on the Family was willing to spend money to promote Prop 8 in California while laying off 20% of its staff, I hoped that this would be the final gasps of a dying organization. How much hatred can they possess if they are willing to fire their own employees in a dismal economy simply in order to stop gays from marrying? Many people remember what Colorado Springs was like before the fascists moved in and took over. Good riddance to Dobson. Hopefully the rest of the organization will fall into oblivion as well.
You people are all missing the main point about the Prop 8 vote: the PEOPLE voted. NOT James Dobson. Sure, he probably did have some influence over many people but if you think the PEOPLE of California (the most liberal State in the US) voted the way they did because James Dobson told them to then I'm sure he would like to know that he is that powerful. Dr Dobson's legacy will be that of strengthening the family and bringin a voice to those who had none. You are all just angry because that voice in recent years has been louder than ever and it makes you crazy. WE are no longer the silent majority...WE'RE HERE, NO FEAR, GET USED TO IT!
Pro-hitting children and anti-gay hater is gone. Even better if this is his last public group.

Prop 8 won by only 2% of the vote, and only that because of lies (teachers would not be required to explain gay marriage) and ignorance (stopping gay marriage would not turn gays into male-female married parents, as a pro-prop 8 bumper sticker claimed.)

Before prop 8, prop 22 won with 61%. The trend is against Dobson's kind of hate.
RennaissanceLady, whatwas Colorado Springs like before all the evangelicals came in?

DJohn, I understand what you're getting at. You feel the voters have had the last word on the matter, and you're taking a certain satisfaction in that -- just as I took satisfaction in seeing the Colorado House pass the domestic partners legislation (though I didn't go on to post "We're here, get used to it" on any evangelical websites). Since we're probably not going to agree on Dobson or whether the organization he founded is a positive influence, can I ask you to give a straightforward answer to a respectful question? What is your opinion of the retired general who has been named to head the organization? Are you familiar with him?
On the upside: this man is scum, so good riddance. But on the downside: it'll be way too easy for these people to plug someone else in, and gosh darn, I'm way too lazy to want to learn another name to associate with this organization.
Mark-The first thing you must understand is that this was not a sudden thing. Dr Dobson planned this 6 years ago. The man that is "taking over" has been there all this time slowly trasferring the reigns of power for the organization. Dr Dobson is 72 years old and he has been a very staunch pro-family advocate for more than 50 years. It's TIME for him to step down. He still has the daily talk radio program and he still has his speaking engagements. If you think because he is no longer the "head" of FOTF he will just fade away into the sunset you are wrong. The very fact that most of the comments on this page are anti-Dr Dobson shows exactly the impact he had on the culture. Dr Dobson has said many times that the culture will soon be won by one side or the other but it won't end in a stalemate. He fought the good fight for his side and we respect him for that. As long as the new director remains faithful to the foundational truths that Dr Dobson built FOTF upon, he will do just fine. Dr Dobson may be less visible but FOTF will continue the fight. Of this I'm sure.
After McCain nominated Palin the first stop they made together was to visit Dobson. He has long been one of the most powerful men in America--and scarcely recognized as such by those outside the circle of fundamentalist politics.

It is estimated as the largest single loyal voting block in America at 30 million. That was the power of James Dobson. But here is the catch, since he was not a charismatic leader, and worked behind the scenes more than in front of them--he will be easily replaced.

Anyone who thinks the power of the fundamentalist movement is over because of this, I believe, is mistaken--I don't say that optimistically, but it needs to be seen realistically. In the re-formation of the Republican party, whether the Rove coalition can maintain itself--or how it will be directed is really the question.
Hmmmmmm.....seems like the bigger story here is the precarious financial state of Focus on the Family. We seem to all be watching the slow-motion disintegration of movement conservatism.

The near future should be quite interesting...I wonder what the finances of other fundamentalist organizations look like? My guess is their bankbooks are similarly slim.

The bankruptcy of this fetid organization would make my heart sing.
DJohn, if 999,999 people out of a million vote to cut off 1 guy's head, it's still wrong. There have always been bigots like you, which is why rights in this country have never been decided by majority vote, but by protections guaranteed to all people equally under the Constitution. At least, that's true, unless you happen to be gay.
The good people of Mississippi did not get to vote about whether or not black people could attend school. It's a sin and a shame that Americans have forgotten what this country is supposed to stand for, but that's what happens when people like you listen to too many people like James Dobson and not enough to your civics teachers.
Allie-Bigot? You don't even know me. But that really doesn't matter does it? You already know everything about me because of what I believe. This country was founded as a religious country. You can argue it if you want but read your history...it's true. Our forefatheres came here to escape religious persecution. I honestly don't care if gay people want to join together in some kind of union. That's fine with me. MOST gay people that I know and work with don't WANT to be married anyway. This is NOT about marriage ti's about re-defining marriage and it's an assault on Judeo-Christian ideas plain and simple. Marriage has always been considered between on e man and one woman...period. There have been other deviations from this like in the muslim world but even they admit that this is their OWN interpretation. If gay people want to come together in a union I have no problem with that. Heck, I don't care if they get the same legal rights under the law. But the reason that this MINORITY wants to impose it's will on the culture is so that they can change the culture to what they want it to be. Once you re-define "marriage" you open up a Pandora's Box that will never be closed. Who is to say that marriage can't be between several mean and several women in the same relationship? Or between and adult and a child? Or a human being and an animal? Once the definition is re-defined it can be anything you want it to be. It would also be an assault on The Bible since that is where marriage was first recognized and established (Genesis). If you can get marriage redefined then why not everything else in The Bible as well? I do not want to deprive ANYONE of their God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, I will fight against those that choose to define what that would be for me and for millions of others. If I were to use your logic then I could also say that we should no longer vote in this country anymore. After all if 56, 000, 000 people decide that something is right that doesn't mean we should all feel that same way. Right?
"MOST gay people that I know and work with don't WANT to be married anyway."

Really? That's odd. But that's all that really is. All it means are your small group of gay friends don't want to be married. Mine want to, and millions of others do to.

Equal Protection under the Law, is not an assault. It's a justice that's been long overdue. If "Judeo-Christians" wish to stand against equality, then they are equally Anti-American as Communist and Marxists who they so demean in the media.

And minorities aren't imposing anything on anyone else for the ten trillionth time Mr. Bigot. It's the Judeo-Christians forcing their book on the rest of us gay folk and we've had enough.
I can only hope this is one of those "cult of personality" situations where, without the old bastard at the helm, membership will fall of and influence will vastly decrease.
LOL! Funny, I've have a very diverse group of friends and I have NEVER been called a bigot before. However, here I was called it twice in one day. Methinks I touched a nerve. Oh well, sticks and stones..
God, money, and guns. Sounds like a great group...
It will be interesting to see what happens to Focus on the Family long-term. American conservative Protestant organizations are typically built around a charismatic male leader. They also tend to be nepotistic and dynastic -- with many of the higher staff positions held by family members, and a son taking over for the father after his death or retirement. In that sense FOTF is different.

The problem is that many of these organizations don't do well upon the departure or wounding of the charismatic leader. Bakker's and Swaggart's organizations basically collapsed. Haggard's church membership dropped from 14,000 to 10,000 when he left in disgrace. After some strange sermons Oral Roberts' ministry income fell dramatically. After Robertson's and Reed's departure the Christian Coalition fell upon hard financial times.

Sometimes the departure of the founder works out Ok. The Billy Graham organization has continued on. Last week they announced that they were trimming their workforce by 10 percent, but that probably was due to the deteriorating economy.

It's anyone's guess what will happen to FOTF. Dobson will still be around, but it's hard to know how long that will be. FOTF has had financial problems in recent years. I think even a lot of evangelicals are getting fed up with the relationship between the religious right and the Republican party, and as the Republican Party became increasingly tarnished some of that may have rubbed off on organizations such as FOTF. I doubt that Gen. Caruana will command the same respect that Dobson did.
mishima-I think it might be helpful to point out that there may be another reason that FOTF is having financial difficulties. You must remember that Christians ALSO attend a local church. Even though they may give donations to FOTF they are alos on a weekly or monthly basis giving to their local church to help them accomplish what they are doing in their local area. I suspect that folks are still giving to their local churches but they have stopped giving to FOTF. Then there is the tithe principal which bible believing Christians follow exclusively. Because God demands it in His Word we give 10% our income to the church as well. I know that most people in the real world don't get how we could do this but let me just say that the reason we do so is because God says so. He also promises to take care of all of our needs if we do. I know if you do the math sometimes it just makes no sense but believe me when I tell you somehow EVERYTHING gets taken care of. I have had checks come to me in the mail for something that I overpaid 3 years ago at the exact time that I needed the money. It works and the only explanation for it is that because we are faithful to God, He is faithful to us. It's powerful! That could be another reason that in these times people are giving less to FOTF. With the tithe and the charitable giving to their local church their isn't much left afterwards since many are out of work or have had to endure pay cuts.
@ DJohn, who wrote:

"Marriage has always been considered between on e man and one woman...period."

You haven't read the Bible, have you, bub? Lots of stories in there about men marrying mutiple women.

Say, have you ever visited a doc? If so, why? Why delay meeting Jesus? If you die, you get to cuddle with Jesus forever and ever. So, avoid docs and hospitals and don't take pills. Jesus wants to cuddle with you!
People, there's no need to bait those you don't agree with. If you have something respectful to say or ask they will likely respond in kind. I for one welcome people with all opinions to this thread and would like people to play nice.
DJohn, I agree that it's a bit strong for strangers to call you a bigot. I also don't care what you call it--union, marriage--as long as what the government provides is the same for everybody. That said, I think you're the one who needs to read your history. Some of the early European settlers came to America to escape the remnants of European theocracy. A few formerly dissident religious groups then established their own religious colonies, with their own oppressive laws and state support of religion, to which other eighteenth century Americans objected. The question of state religion was settled in the constitution. Since that time, legal questions have not been answered by sayng "God wants..." or "the Bible says...."

Where did the myth come from that this was a "Christian" nation? The founders were a bunch of deists and Unitarians. Many of them would have differed very greatly with today's fundamentalists, including on the question of whether Jesus Christ was god.

This silly argument about how gay matrriage will lead to all kinds of odious domestic arrangements (polygamy, child marriage, marriage with animals) is very, very tired. Besides, what's it to you if I marry my cat? We're not going to climb in bed with you and your wife. What is your concern? I don't get why it seems so personal to you what other people do, why you feel that you are losing something that you used to have if gay people get married, too. I'm genuinely curious.
big guns-You haven't read the Bible, have you, bub? Lots of stories in there about men marrying mutiple women.
Actually I have several times. Have you? If you had you would not have asked that question. So since you don't know where to find it I will point it out for you:

Gen 2:21 So the LORD God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of Adam's ribs [fn] and closed up the place from which he had taken it.
Gen 2:22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam.
Gen 2:23 "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called `woman,' because she was taken out of a man."
Gen 2:24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

This is where God established marriage. NOTICE: One man and one woman. Now many people claim that Jesus doesn't say anything about marriage and the Christians just make it up. Again, only someone who has not read the Bible would say this. Here Jesus backs up what God established in Genesis:

Matt 19:3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for [just] any reason?"
Mat 19:4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made [them] at the beginning 'made them male and female,'
Mat 19:5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
Mat 19:6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

I hope this explains it more clearly for you. MAN has chosen to make his own rules. GOD laid out what His plan for marriage was and made decided to make his own rules.

As far as the doctor is concerned, I go all the time. We are not idiots. People who aviod doctors because they want natural healing do so because they don't understand God. He gave us (mankind) the ability to explore science and bacteria and therefore the advances that modern day medicine has come up with is due to the inspiration of many who have come before. We accept this as God's gift to mankind and we see the doctor regularly. Thanks for being so worried about my health though.
Sirenita Lake-do what you want. Just don't call it marriage.
SirenitaLake writes: "I don't get why it seems so personal to you what other people do, why you feel that you are losing something that you used to have if gay people get married, too. I'm genuinely curious."

I don't want to hijack this into a "gay marriage" discussion. Over on Hawley Roddick's "Marriage for All or None" post there was an extensive discussion about that in which I took the largely unpopular "negative" opinion, based on a strictly secular argument.
Think About This;

The entire institution of marriage is a violation of the seperation of church and state....marriage is a religious ceremony.....it shouldn't even be recognized by the government unless accompanied by a legal contract....people that choose to live together should be entitled to equal rights under the law....and people that choose to get married should be free to marry whoever or whatever they want....including their parrot, goldfish or whatever their particular church approves of.....
@ djohn

You're afraid of dying. You embody doubt. If you were absolutely certain that Jesus is a magic man in sky, you'd welcome death and walk all its avenues. You'd want your kin to die too. And your friends. But you don't. You scurry to the doctor because you doubt, just in case the eternal grave awaits you.

When you truly believe and manifest that belief that not delaying death, talk to me about talking snakes and magic apples and women made from ribs. Until then, you're citing fairy tales as a basis for public policy and only citing science when it benefits you, by, ironically, keeping you from Jesus.

As far as quibbling about the word, "marriage," I assume you don't call second state-sanctioned and church-formalized sexual unions by that word.

Likewise, I assume, given that one's first sexual partner, according to the Bible, is one's spouse, that you were, when you entered into a legal arrangement with your formalized sex partner, a virgin. Were you a virgin? If not, you're not married, at least according to the Bible. Rather, you're a daily adulterer. And even if you were a virgin and your wife too, most of your fundy friends who assert that they're married are truly and simply adulterers, Biblically-speaking.
Good riddance to a very angry and dangerous man. His methods for dealing with children are at times just plain sadisitc.
DJohn wrote:

"Sirenita Lake--do what you want. Just don't call it marriage."

Well, I'm gonna marry my cat and have kittens and call it whatever I want!
Good riddance to that clown.
what's the big deal about marriage anyway?

if any other social contract had as dismal a failure rate, fraud and deception as marriage it would have been abandoned years ago.....

to my gay friends......you have the perfect excuse....rather than legalize gay marriage, i would prefer it if they made marriage illegal for everyone.

and another thing....what's this bullshit about the "marriage penalty" tax....single people are the ones that pay a higher income tax rate and are penalized....we subsidize your fat little rug rats in schoos through our property taxes as well...i don't mind and even believe it is my responsiblitity to prepare the next generation but don't give me this crap that married people pay a penalty....the only penalty they pay is being married (which i guess is considerable)

Dobson is an authoritarian fascist....in many cultures he would be ostricized for his absurd theories about child development and social values....
big guns-I can honestly say that your ignorance of both the Bible and the Christian community is breathtaking. Believe what you want if it helps you feel better.
Please. Make it stop.
@ djohn

I take your breath away?

You don't have that effect on me. You're yet another person alleging that you live the "christian lifestyle" and yet you fornicate pre-marriage and do everything you can to avoid actually cuddling on Jesus's lap, by rushing to docs when you're ill. You know, you could have fed starving children with the money you've spent on docs.
Sirenita writes: "Well, I'm gonna marry my cat and have kittens and call it whatever I want!"

Michael W. writes: " . . . rather than legalize gay marriage, i would prefer it if they made marriage illegal for everyone. . . . and people that choose to get married should be free to marry whoever or whatever they want....including their parrot, goldfish or whatever their particular church approves of....."

It's interesting to me that so many people who support gay marriage have little or no interest in marriage of any kind. So yeah, if marriage doesn't mean anything, then gay marriage doesn't mean anything either.

I think this is ultimately about whether marriage matters or doesn't matter. And that's fine. But when people are asked to vote for gay marriage, let's just be honest about what we are really being asked to approve.

DJohn writes: "Once you re-define "marriage" you open up a Pandora's Box that will never be closed."

Though I am not a conservative Christian, I have to agree with you. As I have said before on another post (that I referenced earlier here) the majority of gays in long-term relationships -- around 75 percent -- are not interested in monogamy. This is not my opinion -- this is what gays say about themselves, as I documented in the other post.

Everything I have to say about this issue can be found in the comments here:

Read or not read as you choose. I don't want to reproduce it all here. But I think a lot of people are missing some very basic facts on this issue.
I hadn't heard about this - thanks for posting :)
@ mishima666, who asserted that the "majority of gays are not interested in monogamy."

You must not live in a college town. You must know little to nothing of hook-up culture. I can walk down the main drag of our town's college neighborhood on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and witness thousands of straight kids who have no interest in monogamy. Since you're speaking emperically, I assume you have an equivalent experience, where you can display thousands of gay citizens who have no interest in monogamy?

Your rusty saw is so old that it should be retired to the barn.
bigguns writes: "You must know little to nothing of hook-up culture. I can walk down the main drag of our town's college neighborhood on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and witness thousands of straight kids who have no interest in monogamy."

I'm talking about monogamy after marriage. While there are a few married hetero "swingers," the great majority of hetero couples do not include adultery as a normal and desirable part of married life.

Gay sexuality is just different. As I noted on the other post

"Studies of gay male couples have shown that as many as 75 percent are non-monogamous. In 1992, British researchers found many gay male couples begin as monogamous, but after five years, 72 percent of gay male couples were non-monogamous."

"As a gay therapist who has seen hundreds of gay couples in a vast range of unconventional, loving and sustaining relationship configurations--including monogamy, semi-open relationships (Thursday nights off), three-partner relationships and more--I have grown to respect the fluidity and customized relationship forms that can work well for gay men."

In a discussion with a gay man on another post, he said clearly that gays do not want the same "thing" (monogamy) as hetero couples. In another recent OS post a gay man talked about how he and his partner, legally married in Canada, each had live-in lovers in the house.

This is not what James Dobson says. This is what gays say about themselves.

For people who don't care about traditional marriage in the first place, they're not going to care about that.

Ultimately I think the real issue is not gay marriage but whether the ideal of marriage as a faithful monogamous relationship between two people is worth preserving. And you don't have to be James Dobson or a member of Dobson's church to be concerned about that.
@ mishima666

Now I'm thinking you know little of straight married men. I've had scores of married men hit on me. I think most women have had the same experience. Wouldn't it be great if straight married people were true to their vows? However, they're not. If you want to protect marriage, ban divorce. Force all divorced people to return to their original spouses.
bigguns writes: "Now I'm thinking you know little of straight married men. I've had scores of married men hit on me."

Sure, but adultery in a marriage is typically considered to be a bad thing. People get divorced over it. It's not a trivial thing, and they typically do not include sex outside of the marital relationship as a normal part of married life.

The gay community is different. Note this from a gay man:

"I have never been at a soiree with multiple straight “committed” couples in which someone suggests we take off our clothes and see what happens, but I’m sad to say it’s happened with gay friends in long-term relationships. Of course, I know, many men cheat on their wives. But they almost never define their marriage as something that accommodates adultery."

I think there is a difference between someone who fails to live up to the ideal of monogamy and someone who doesn't even have that as an ideal to begin with.

Again, I'm not saying that gays are bad people, just that their relationships and expectations thereof tend to be very different from those in the hetero world and thus very different from what we would consider marriage to be all about.
@ mishima666

You hang with some wild gay guys! The ones I know go to work, come home, and watch tv.
marriage........what a wonderful institution.....Mr. Mishima must know because his ranting is that of someone who is likely instituitionalized......have a nice day, take your meds and don't worry too much about the way other people choose to live....who knows, you may become a healthier person in the process.....
Michael W. writes: "Mr. Mishima must know because his ranting is that of someone who is likely instituitionalized."

Michael, I am expressing a point of view that I know is not popular on OS, but given how people vote on this issue -- when they are actually able to vote -- it is a point of view that probably is typical in this country. Last I knew expressing an opinion not popular on OS is not a sign of mental illness. If I said something that offends, the offense was not intentional. I have tried to discuss the issue in a courteous and respectful manner, and if I failed in that, my apologies to you.
Mr. Mishima:

Dude, the issue is not whether or not you offend me....you don't...the issue is whether you can stretch your own point of view to understand that society doesn't need to conform to your or my point of view about behavior......America, a great idea, about the ability to live your life the way you choose....even if some people find it repulsive....it is your right and mine to find other people's choices objectionable....but that's where it ends....nobody has the right to tell anyone how to live...unless that behavior violates someone else's rights....which is exactly what you are advocating.
Think about it .....you might change your point of view.....Bob Dylan says that he seldom has the same point of view from day to day....a rather unstable but interesting way to live......
last point....human rights are not about a voting referendum....if that were the case then slavery would still be legal in some parts of the country.......
Ok, Mishima666, you asked for it: I married my cat for his money! Now you know. And you know what else? It didn't make a damn bit of difference to all the married heterosexuals. Why, most of them weren't even aware of it. And yes, he is a tom cat, but even a tom cat can give up cruising and settle down with the one he loves.
Michael W. writes: "nobody has the right to tell anyone how to live . . . human rights are not about a voting referendum..."

What exactly is the right being asserted, and what is the basis of that right? It's important to know, because SOMEBODY has to end up voting on the issue, whether "we the people" or some small panel of judges. For me this has always been about people understanding what it is they are being asked to approve.

Earlier in the discussion, SirenitaLake said "This silly argument about how gay matrriage will lead to all kinds of odious domestic arrangements (polygamy, child marriage, marriage with animals) is very, very tired."

I agree with her about child marriage and marriage with animals, simply because children and animals could not consent to marriage. As far as "other odious domestic arrangements," that's a different matter, and an open question as far as I'm concerned.

If as you say "nobody has the right to tell anyone how to live," does that include everything related to marriage? In other words, who am I to say that a man can't marry five women? Or that three men can't marry each other and then each marry two women?

Yes, it sounds silly, but under the principle that we can't tell anyone how to live, what is there in that principle that would prevent such arrangements? According to you all I can do is to sit on the sidelines and "find other people's choices objectionable," without in any way limiting their choices.

The ideal of marriage as we know it here consists of a faithful monogamous relationship between two people. But you've already argued against the ideal of traditional marriage -- it's a "fraud and deception," something probably best done away with altogether.

Well, once you jettison the idea of traditional marriage, you also jettison the "two people" part of traditional marriage. And how the larger society might feel about polygamy or these other "poly" relationships is irrelevant, because the "rights" of the individual always trump what the majority of people might want.

Once gay marriage is approved, along with it's many and varied concomitant "relationship configurations," it's not too much of a leap to think that they will also ask to bring some of these relationship configurations under the heading of "marriage." Polygamists will also want the same thing.

And they will use the very argument that you have used: "nobody has the right to tell anyone how to live . . . human rights are not about a voting referendum..."

To say that gay marriage will lead to polygamy and other "odious domestic relationships" is not silly. It is merely an extension of the same argument you've used for gay marriage. And at that point the institution you describe as a fraud and deception will no longer exist in any recognizable form.