THINK OF THE CHILDREN….So, as expected, the FMA failed again today. Sponsors expected to get 52 votes, but they ended up with 49, just one more than in 2004. How did supporters manage so little progress after gaining allies in Congress in the last election? I suspect exchanges like this one from a press conference on the Hill help explain part of the problem.

[Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)] held a news conference Monday at which the speakers said they wanted to reduce the “epidemic level of fatherlessness in America.”

“How would outlawing gay marriage encourage heterosexual fathers to stick around?” was the first question. Allard skirted the question by saying that “laws send a message to our children.”

The moderator, Matt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage, tried to find a question on another subject. But when reporters continued to press Allard on the link between same-sex marriage and deadbeat dads, Daniels blurted out: “All right, you know what? We’re going to call this press conference to a close.”

Rhetorically, at least, supporters of the amendment spent an almost-ridiculous amount of time arguing that gay marriage would lead to children without parents. Focus on the Family ran a series of print ads across the country asking, “Why doesn’t Senator [fill in the blank] believe every child needs a mother and a father?” The ads explained:

“It is a painful but very real truth. Homosexual marriages intentionally create motherless families or fatherless families. But a compassionate society would not deliberately deny a child a mother or father.”

It’s always a mistake to look for logic in far-right claims, but aren’t these arguments geared towards opposition to gay adoption? Taking this approach just one step further, wouldn’t conservatives also want a constitutional amendment banning divorce among couples with children?

On second thought, it’s probably best not to give these guys any ideas.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.