Peter Sprigg of the Christian conservative group Family Research Council is the latest gay rights foe to suggest pollsters are biased in favor of gay marriage.

After six nationwide polls have shown a majority of Americans narrowly support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, opponents of the institution have gone on the defensive, claiming that either the pollsters are biased or respondents have been bullied into silence.

A poll released two weeks ago by Gallup found 53% percent of Americans in support of the legalization of gay marriage, a 9-point increase since last year's poll. Forty-five percent of Americans remain opposed to marriage equality, including a large majority (72%) of Republicans.

“Pollsters have actually changed the wording of their polls on same-sex marriage in ways to make them most likely to result in a favorable outcome for the other side,” Sprigg claimed during a recent speech to Christian conservatives. “Several years ago they replaced the neutral term 'homosexual' with the word 'gay,' which in and of itself tends to imply something which is empirically false. Namely that there is such a thing as an intrinsic gay identity which people are born with and can never change.”

Sprigg went on to state that the goal of gay rights activists was to create a society in which “it is unacceptable for anyone ever anywhere to say that homosexual conduct is wrong or that homosexual relationships are anything other than fully equal to heterosexual ones.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

In an op-ed published Friday on Fox News, Penny Young Nance of the socially conservative group Concerned Women for America suggested Americans were browbeaten into supporting gay marriage.

“The supporters of same-sex marriage will pull no punches when it comes to solidifying their agenda into law,” Nance wrote. “The extent to which they harassed and threatened the pro-Prop 8 supporters in California was just a taste of the hatred they have for those of us who want marriage to remain between one man and one woman.”

“So maybe it's possible that the respondents to the Gallup poll did not want to voice their support for traditional marriage for fear of being bullied and called a bigot?”