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?

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

Donny D. said...

That's pretty sleazy, taking Dr. Diamond's statement that the sexual labels people applied to themselves changed to mean their underlying sexuality changed. If Clement thought he could get away with that, he fully deserves whatever grief Dr. Diamond's affidavit causes him and whatever damage it does to his case. This is something Paul Clement did to himself, and he and the rest of the GOP conservative blame chorus can't lay this on anyone else.