Thursday, August 07, 2014

FRC's Peter Sprigg attempts to rewrite facts about flawed Regnerus study

Peter Sprigg of FRC
It never ceases to amaze me how low Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg will stoop in various columns, pieces, and posts to deceive people in regards to situations about the lgbt community. I've written about Sprigg's lies and distortions on numerous occasions.

Yesterday in anticipation of the four six cases which will decide the fate of marriage equality in four states, he attempted a rehash of the Michigan case earlier this year which overturned the anti-marriage equality law in that state. He also attempted to tarnish the reputation of a federal judge:

In the piece Appeals Court Should Correct Judge Friedman’s Botched Social Science which appeared  in The Daily Caller, Sprigg claimed that the federal judge, Bernard Friedman, who ruled against Michigan's anti-marriage equality law, was biased against those defending that law.

Sprigg offers no concrete proof, only vapid innuendos:

 Judge Friedman was fawning in his adulation of the pro-homosexual witnesses, describing each as “fully credible” or “highly credible” and attaching either “considerable weight” or “great weight” to their testimony.

On the other hand, he simply dismissed the other witnesses. Loren Marks (whose published critique of the pro-homosexual parenting studies is, in reality, devastating) was described as “largely unbelievable.”

Then Sprigg proceeded to defend Michigan's witness, Professor Mark Regnerus. Regnerus, as many of you all know, is the author of the study which claimed that lgbt households are not a good place to raise children.

And if you all know that, then you know that the study was discredited by many sources, including the American Sociological Association, over 200 researchers, the sociology department of  Regenerus's own university (University of Texas - Austin) for its multitude of errors, including the fact that it did not actually compare married gay parents to married heterosexual parents and Regnerus admitted that the study did not establish a connection between negative outcomes and same-sex parenting.

There was also the fact that Regnerus received funding for the study from two groups, the Witherspoon Institute and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, who are actively attempting to stop marriage equality from becoming a reality.

Of course Sprigg omitted all of this in his fawning defense of Regnerus and his flawed work. Instead, Sprigg made the following totally inaccurate statement:

Unlike the previous studies on children of homosexual parents, Regnerus put together a representative, population-based sample that was large enough to draw scientifically and statistically valid conclusions. He also examined forty outcome measures, not just one or a handful. Because of these and other methodological improvements over previous studies, the Regnerus study stands as the gold standard in the field.

Sprigg continued with his nonsense:

Judge Friedman dismissed it with language that sounded like the attacks upon it by LGBT bloggers. “The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” he declared. Echoing unfounded accusations from homosexual activists, he charged that “his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder.” Yet the funders had no input into the design or conduct of the study, and even scholar Darren Sherkat, an early critic who was tapped to do an “audit” of the publication process by the journal editor, vigorously denied that the article was rushed to publication.

Friedman also claimed that “Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS” — neglecting to mention that the university had investigated charges of misconduct brought by a “gay” blogger and concluded, ““Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct,” and, “None of the allegations … were substantiated.”

Sprigg commits the sin of omission by not mentioning what happened when Regenerus was cross examined during the case.  For one thing, Regnerus admitted to a flaw in his work which contradicts the idea that it is, as Sprigg said, the gold standard. According to the Detroit Free Press:

Under cross-examination in Friedman’s courtroom Tuesday, Regnerus conceded that more than half of the respondents he classified as children of “gay dads” or “lesbian moms” were the offspring of failed heterosexual marriages, and that only two of the 3,000 respondents he interviewed had been raised by same-sex partners who remained together throughout their childhoods. Like their peers in stable opposite-sex families, Regnerus conceded, both respondents who grew up in stable same-sex households “looked pretty good” in his study’s measures of adult outcomes.

Furthermore, in yet another contradiction to what Sprigg claimed, emails were produced that demonstrated that perhaps funders did have a hand in what Regnerus was going to produce. Several tweets from reporters observing the case, including Tresa Baldas, a staff writer for the Detroit Free Press, and ex-Politico reporter and freelancer Steve Friess, verified this.

Generally, Sprigg's deceptive wash of a column would be business as usual, but I think in this case, it should be seen as a metaphor for entire campaign against marriage equality. Sprigg and others who back his anti-marriage equality stance (this includes Brian Brown and the National Organization for Marriage and Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation) have spun, altered, deceived, and concealed during this entire debate. And it has served them well. They've convinced a lot of people that their point of view is rooted in logic and fact.

However, when you rip away the spin, you reduce their arguments to what they actually are - basic lies fueled by anti-lgbt animus. And when this is done, they lose, leaving them to huff and puff and blame everyone else except for themselves, who they should blame for spinning the lies in the first place.

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