On the June 15 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, “Savage Nation,” shock jock Michael Savage attacked the Massachusetts state legislature for defeating a proposal that would have called for a referendum on an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. He said of the legislators who voted against putting the amendment on the ballot for 2008: “The gang that answers to the gay mafia controls the state.” Savage characterized opponents of the amendment, including Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), as “criminals” who told voters to “drop dead.” He added: “Gay marriage was to go before the people in an even vote ... [b]ut at the last minute, the gay mafia bought the votes of state representatives up and down the line — bought them lock, stock, and barrel, like cheap tricks in a gay bathhouse.” He also called same-sex marriage “an affront to all of civilization.”
‘Gays conspire with corrupt politicians to steal constitutional rights of voters in Massachusetts, forcing homosexual marriage down throats of millions, bypassing the ballot box.’
— anti-gay right-wing radio host Michael Savage
On June 14, the legislature voted 151-45 against putting the amendment to a referendum; same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2004. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that “barring an individual from the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution,” and issued an advisory opinion to the state Senate in 2004 making clear that only full marriage rights, not civil unions, would comport with the state constitution. The proposal for a referendum on the amendment fell short of the 50 votes needed to include a referendum on the amendment on the November 2008 ballot.
As Media Matters for America has noted, Savage frequently makes homophobic remarks on his program. On the Jan. 2 broadcast of his show, he said “the homosexual dance of death” is “the seminal issue of our time.” Savage has also repeatedly called gay parenting “child abuse.”
“The Savage Nation” reaches more than 8 million listeners each week according to Talkers Magazine, making it the third most-listened-to talk radio show in the nation, behind only “The Rush Limbaugh Show” and “The Sean Hannity Show.”
From the June 15 edition of Talk Radio Network’s “The Savage Nation”:
“Here’s a headline you’re not going to believe. It’s 100 percent true: ‘Gays conspire with corrupt politicians to steal constitutional rights of voters in Massachusetts, forcing homosexual marriage down throats of millions, bypassing the ballot box.’
“What they did in Massachusetts is what was initiated in California with a proposition. They wanted to bring it directly to the people, meaning the voters. Isn’t that what our system says? Are we going to descend into the Sunnis and the Shiites under these vermin, these rats, these bums, these corrupt scum?
“In Massachusetts, a gang — including the governor, including the Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, including Senate President Therese Murray, and including Gov. Deval Patrick — they did an end-run around the voters. The voters wanted a vote on homosexual marriage. They wanted it to go before the people, and these criminals went behind the voters’ back[s] and shot it down. They won’t even let them vote on it. They said ‘drop dead’ to all of you. ‘We’re not going to let you vote on it! We control the state!’ The gang that answers to the gay mafia controls the state — ‘You people, you can drop dead, all of you.’
“Now, if you think it’s just a bunch of homophobes who wanted the people to vote, what would you make of this statement? Who do you think was the lead sponsor of the proposed amendment to have overturned homosexual marriage, which, of course, as you well know, is an affront to all of civilization?
“A hundred and seventy thousand Massachusetts residents signed the petition to place the ban on the ballot. Raymond Flynn, the former Boston mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, was the lead sponsor of this amendment. You know what he had to say? You know what he had to say? He said that ‘the people had their votes stolen from them.’ So that’s Raymond Flynn. Gay marriage was to go before the people in an even vote. Just let the people decide. But at the last minute, the gay mafia bought the votes of state representatives, up and down the line — bought them lock, stock, and barrel, like cheap tricks in a gay bathhouse.”
Savage has a history of on-air anti-gay tirades. Following a confrontation with a caller who he referred to as a “sodomite” during his TV talk show on MSNBC, he was fired by the cable news network. Since that time — July 7, 2003 — he has not returned to television but has maintained the radio program.
At press time Alternet blogger and filmmaker Rory O’Connor wrote that he intends to start a movement to get Savage off the air, along with other extremist right-wing advocates like FOX’s Bill O’Reilly.