Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Research Council is mad at Sen. Al Franken

The Family Research Council is furious at how Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) rebuked Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery during yesterday's DOMA hearing.

Franken called out Minnery for distorting a 2010 Health and Human Services study to make the case that two-parent heterosexual households are better at raising children than same-sex households:

The study in question, published by a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in 2010, found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families – a point Minnery, senior vice president for public policy, said means children are better off with straight, married parents.

But Franken pointed out that the study’s definition of “nuclear family” does not specify the gender of the parents in such families, suggesting a lack of evidence that same-sex couples’ kids are less healthy than the children of straight couples.

In an email, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins said:

Homosexual activists are gloating over an exchange Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) had with Tom Minnery (of Focus on the Family affiliate CitizenLink) at yesterday's hearing on a bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Minnery had cited a December 2010 federal study which showed that children raised in a "nuclear family" have better health outcomes. Franken, however, triumphantly noted that a "nuclear family" was defined (in part) as one headed by "two parents who are married to one another"--not two opposite-sex parents. But did Franken forget the law he wants to repeal? DOMA says, "In determining the meaning of . . . any ruling, regulation, or interpretation o f the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States , the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Since this was a federal study published by a federal agency based on a federal survey conducted by federal (Census Bureau) employees, its definition of "married" is bound by DOMA. Even if, by chance, the interviewers or authors violated that law, the survey data was collected from 2001 to 2007. During that time (and only from mid-2004 on) there was only one state (Massachusetts) in which homosexual couples could "marry." The vast majority of homosexual couples raising children fall in the categories of "unmarried biological or adoptive family," "blended family," or "cohabiting family"--all of which have poorer outcomes for children than the traditional "nuclear family."

Seeing that the Family Research Council had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of this study, Perkins's words are moot.

The words of the lead author of the study, Debra L. Blackwell, Ph.D.,on the other hand, has more credibility. And she said Franken was right:

The survey did not exclude same-sex couples, said Debra L. Blackwell, Ph.D., nor did it exclude them from the “nuclear family” category provided their family met the study’s definition.

The study’s definition of nuclear family is: “one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents of all the children in the family.”

That means the study does not provide evidence that straight couples’ children necessarily fare better than same-sex couples’ kids, as Minnery claimed.

Perhaps in this case it would have been better for Perkins to pretend that the exchange between Franken and Minnery never happened.

Good thing for the gay community that Perkins doesn't have that much restraint.

Related post - Tom Minnery's lies are commonplace in religious right data

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