Monday, August 22, 2011

Why is Boehner using distorted work to defend DOMA?

Usually, I try to point out how the religious right distorts credible research. Imagine my surprised today when an online buddy of mine, Joe Sudbay from Americablog Gay, came up with this tidbit about U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner's attempts to defend DOMA:

As we've reported, Edie's lawyers have moved to strike much of the documentation provided by John Boehner's legal team, led by Paul Clement. As expected, Clement objected. He wants all those documents and articles entered into evidence. He's conducting this case like he's arguing before the Supreme Court. But, this is a trial court.

Today, Edie's lawyers responded. They submitted the affadavit, posted below, of Professor Lisa Diamond, one of the authors cited by Boehner's lawyers.

(You can find BLAG's cites to Diamond on pages 10 -11 of the document posted here.)

In what amounts to a legal bombshell, Diamond maintains that Boehner's crack legal team misconstrued and distorted her writings. She stated, "They have completely misrepresented my research."

From the Reply Memo filed today:
Professor Lisa Diamond, the author of two of the academic articles Plaintiff seeks to strike, has submitted an affidavit testifying that BLAG has in fact distorted her research and that she never would have agreed to testify to the propositions BLAG has advanced in its papers. It is hard to imagine a more concrete example of why the materials submitted by BLAG are not reliable. Had BLAG followed the rules and used as expert witnesses any of the authors it cites (as contemplated by the May 11 Scheduling Order), and had Plaintiff’s counsel then had the opportunity to depose them, Plaintiff would have been able to obtain similarly damaging testimony from them as well.
How can anything else Clement wrote in his brief be trusted? He's trying to play by his own rules. But, even the "esteemed" Paul Clement can't just make things up

Here is the interesting part about Diamond. She is a member of my list of 11 physicians and researchers who have complained about how the religious right and their allies distort their work.

According to Truth Wins Out:

Lisa M. Diamond, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah. She has won a number of awards for her work. In 2000, Dr. Diamond published a study, “Sexual identity, attractions, and behavior among young sexual minority women over a 2 year period.” This study was distorted by The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The anti-gay organization falsely claimed that Dr. Diamond’s work shows that sexual orientation is “amenable to change.”

Dr. Diamond also produced a second study, “Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study” in Developmental Psychology (2008, Vol. 44, No 1., 5-14). NARTH recently cited this study to support its anti-scientific belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder that should be treated. Truth Wins Out informed Dr. Diamond about these misrepresentations of her research, and she agreed to discuss how her work was manipulated:

If you go to the Americablog Gay page to read Diamond's affadavit, you will find Boehner's team distorted her study the same way in which NARTH did, i.e. making the case that sexual orientation can change.

Which leads me to ask a simple question - just who is Boehner and Clement working with to preserve DOMA?  I sincerely hope that they aren't working with NARTH.

You are familiar with NARTH, aren't you? That's the same discredited organization responsible so much inaccurate information about the gay community. Again from Truth Wins Out:

NARTH relies on outdated studies and frequently confuses stereotypes with science. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, for example, often tells audiences that people are gay because they have a rift with a same-sex parent or a have domineering opposite sex parent. It has been decades since any serious scientific body subscribed to these views and there is no contemporary research to uphold these anachronistic theories. Yet, NARTH’ co-founder Dr. Joseph Nicolosi repeats the empty mantra, “We advise fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.”

 . . . NARTH also has bizarre theories, such as encouraging male clients who drink Gatorade and call their friends “dude,” because this will supposedly make them more masculine. Dr. Nicolosi also espouses the bizarre idea that, “Non-homosexual men who experience defeat and failure may also experience homosexual fantasies or dreams.”

In 2006, NARTH had a meltdown after two major controversies. In the first, psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, a member of their “Scientific Advisory Committee,” wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children. “I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex–but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings,” Dr. Berger wrote on NARTH’s website. “On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.”

In the second controversy, Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, also a member of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee,” wrote a polemic on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery: “With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America,” wrote Schoenwolf. “It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.”

The most recent controversy involving NARTH occurred last year when a prominent board member, George Rekers, was caught coming from a European vacation with a "rentboy." This controversy led caused him to resign from the board.

While I am certainly not accusing Boehner or Clement of utilizing the services of this group, it seems odd that their team distorts a professor's work the same way NARTH did.

There needs to be some questions answered here as to how our Speaker of the House is spending taxpayer money.

Is he wasting it on a discredited anti-gay organization?

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American bigots causing problems in Africa and other Monday midday news briefs

Ugandan Cabinet “Throws Out” Anti-Homosexuality Bill, But Parliament Presses Ahead - These fools are determined to push this awful bill.

CAMEROON: 2 Gay Youth Arrested for "Looking Feminine", Tortured - Meanwhile in another part of Africa . . .

But those two stories are just a prelude. You wanna know what's probably causing this mess:

American Anti-Gay Campaign in Africa Opposes "Fictitious Sexual Rights" - There you go. Having probably lost the war against gay equality in America, these folks are moving to Africa to exploit fear, religious beliefs, and basic homophobia - with "successful" results.

Study: highest percentage of SC gay couples live in Myrtle Beach - And of course some SC public official will find a way of ignoring these couple and their families.

Top Eight Pro-LGBT Arguments In The Obama Administration’s Anti-DOMA Brief - It's nice to see the Obama Administration doing the right thing.

Harvey: Close Down Gay Bars - This is after Harvey called for schools to ban gay and lesbian teachers. I hear that next she wants to order the government to build walls and walls of closets to keep us in our places.

BREAKING: Sen. Udall comes out for marriage equality - So that you don't think that all I post is dire news, check out this from Colorado Senator Udall. This is an excellent bit of news.

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Wanna watch a bigot melt down? Ask him a simple question about marriage equality

This is hilarious. A friend of mine on Facebook asked a simple question about giving a good reason why the gay community should be denied equality. And check out the answer. I really don't understand the answer because I don't think the question was all that difficult:

This "piece of work obviously forgot about us ripping tags from mattresses, "squeezing the Charmin," and calling random people to spoil the plots of videos they just rented.

Now to the point, I don't think that all people who are against marriage equality feels this way. And I am sure that many of those opposing marriage equality can spell basic words like "lose."

But make no mistake about it - the person voicing this "interesting opinion" is the type of person whom Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and the rest of the lovelies at the National Organization for Marriage or Tony Perkins and his people at Family Research Council hope to attract when they spin their lies about homosexuality and pedophilia or homosexuality being a "bad health risk."

It  has never been, nor will it ever be about truth. It's more about exploiting ignorance, fear, and religious beliefs. At times, it's sad.

But right now, it's just so damn hilarious.

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