Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Matt Barber returns to spin another distortion

Matt Barber may have left Concerned Women for America, but he still continues to distort research.

One News Now (your favorite phony news source and mine) published a piece by him entitled: Children in the 'gay marriage' crosshairs .

This piece follows standard anti-gay industry talking points that include: "marriage presents the best way to raise children" and "children deserve a mother and a father."

For the record, children deserve a good home where they have love and support. This doesn't necessarily only come from a home that features a mother and father. It can come from a home that features only a mother or only a father. Or two mothers or two fathers for that matter.

In fact in this country, families that don't fit the "traditional definition" are raising children and are doing it quite well.

They just don't matter to the anti-gay industry.

But I deviate from my point. Barber's column features the following:

While standing before the Courts of Justice Committee of the Virginia Senate in 2005, Robert Knight, former director of the Culture and Family Institute, testified to the following:

"In 2001, a team of pro-homosexual researchers from the University of Southern California did a meta-analysis of 'gay parenting' studies and published a refreshingly honest article in American Sociological Review, '(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?'

"The authors concluded that, yes, studies show that girls are more likely to 'be sexually adventurous and less chaste,' including being more likely to try lesbianism, and that boys are more likely to have 'fluid' conceptions of gender roles, and that researchers should stop trying to cover this up in the hopes of pursuing a pro-homosexual agenda. The researchers said, in effect: Some of the kids are more likely to turn out gay or bisexual, but so what?"

Of course this is a blatant lie, but typical of Robert Knight. Before Knight joined another group, the Media Resource Center, he was involved with Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council.

While with these groups, Knight freely cited discredited researcher Paul Cameron, as well as distorted credible research in order to paint a negative picture of the lgbt community.

The example Barber used is just par for the course.

The study cited, (How) Does Sexual Orientation of the Parent Matter, was written by Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey.

My guess is that Barber intentionally omitted the authors of the study because, you see, Stacey has gone on record complaining as to how her work has been distorted.

But let's look at the "horse's mouth," so to speak.

A look at the Stacey/Biblarz study shows that what was said is more complex than what Barber and Knight claim.

Here is what the passage (page 171) actually said:

Tasker and Golombok (1997) also report some fascinating findings on the number of sexual partners children report having had between puberty and young adulthood. Relative to their counterparts with heterosexual parents, the adolescent and young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to have been more sexually adventurous and less chaste, whereas the sons of lesbians evince the opposite pattern—somewhat less sexually adventurous and more chaste (the finding was statistically significant for the 25- girl sample but not for the 18-boy sample).

In other words, once again, children (especially girls) raised by lesbians appear to depart from traditional gender-based norms while children raised by heterosexual mothers appear to conform to them. Yet this provocative finding of differences in sexual behavior and agency has not been analyzed or investigated further.

The gender-based roles that Stacey and Biblarz alluded to is in this passage on page 168:

For example, lesbian mothers in R. Green et al. (1986) reported that their children, especially daughters, more frequently dress, play, and behave in ways that do not conform to sex-typed cultural norms. Likewise, daughters of lesbian mothers reported greater interest in activities associated with both “masculine” and “feminine” qualities and that involve the participation of both sexes, whereas daughters of heterosexual mothers report significantly greater interest in traditionally feminine, same-sex activities (also see Hotvedt and Mandel 1982).

Similarly, daughters with lesbian mothers reported higher aspirations to nontraditional gender occupations (Steckel 1987). For example, in R. Green et al. (1986), 53 percent (16 out of 30) of the daughters of lesbians aspired to careers such as doctor, lawyer, engineer, and astronaut, compared with only 21 percent (6 of 28) of the daughters of heterosexual mothers.

So it sounds like that Stacey and Biblarz were actually saying that children raised by lgbts don't necessarily conform to the "traditional" gender roles. This point is alluded to throughout the entire study.

But Knight and Barber took passages out of the study to extrapolate the following incorrect stereotype: gays and lesbians raising children will lead to girls being lesbians and sluts and boys putting on dresses.

It's sad how these supposed Christians will lie. I think that the following point Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes made at a teleconference call says it all:

Those who oppose civil equality for gays and lesbians are actively distorting, cherry-picking, and misrepresenting the social science research in their attempts to justify discrimination . . . and unfortunately, the media often reports these distortions without investigating and fact checking them. Politicians and legislators then use that misinformation to pass bans on marriage equality, as well as foster parenting and adoption by same gender parents.

So my question to you all is: how do we stop it?