Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Twelfth researcher complains about religious right distortion of her work

Rick Fitzgibbons is accused of distorting research

Another researcher has come out complaining about how a religious right "expert" distorted her work to stigmatize the lgbtq community.

According to Box Turtle Bulletin, Rick Fitzgibbons of  the NARTH (the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) wrote a piece about same-sex adoption. In the piece, Fitzgibbons cited the work of Seton Hall professor Dr. Theodora Sirota to make the case that children in same sex households are not raised better than children "in stable homes with a mother and a father."

However, according to Sirota, Fitzgibbons misused her work. You can read the letter here, but Box Turtle Bulletin breaks the distortion down nicely:

To support his denunciation of same-sex adoption, Fitzgibbons offers this summary of Sirota’s research:
Researchers interviewed 68 women with gay or bisexual fathers and 68 women with heterosexual fathers. The women (average age 29 in both groups) with gay or bisexual fathers had difficulty with adult attachment issues in three areas: they were less comfortable with closeness and intimacy; they were less able to trust and depend on others; and they experienced more anxiety in relationships compared to the women raised by heterosexual fathers.
The problem is not with what Fitzgibbons said; it’s what he left out: The gay and bisexual fathers in Sirota’s study were married to the mothers.

Dr. Sirota’s article is about the impact of a homosexual father raising a girl in a heterosexual marriage. It has nothing to do with same-sex couples, nothing to do with same-sex adoption at all.

Or as Dr. Sirota says in her letter:

  . . .  no conclusions about gay or lesbian fitness to adopt children or quality of active gay parenting can be drawn from the findings of my research. No conclusions about the well-being of children who are or were actively raised by gay or lesbian parents can be drawn from the findings of my research.”

While NARTH is looked upon as experts on the lgbtq community in religious right circles,  the mainstream scientific community pretty much ignores the groups's research and with good reason.

The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:

Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery

NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.

Also, according to Truth Wins Out:

NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.

In 2010, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a "rentboy."

Unfortunately the distortion of legitimate scientific work by religious right experts is not done solely by NARTH. Other groups have gotten into trouble over this sadly overlooked aspect of the so-called culture wars. Over the years, there have been 11 other complaints from researchers about how their work was being distorted by religious right and so-called "pro-family" groups, including:

National Institute of Health director Francis Collins, who rebuked the right-wing American College of Pediatricians for falsely claiming that he stated sexual orientation is not hardwired by DNA.

Six researchers of a 1997 Canadian study (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter), who complained in 2001 that religious right groups were distorting their work to claim that gay men have a short life span.

The authors of the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States (Professors Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O. Valdiserri), who complained that their work was being distorted by Focus on the Family.

University College London professor Michael King, who complained that the American Family Association was distorting his work on depression and suicide in LGBT individuals

University of Utah professor Lisa Diamond, who complained that NARTH (the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), a group which also share board members with the American College of Pediatricians, distorted her research on sexual orientation.

Dr. Carol Gilligan, Professor of Education and Law at New York University, who complained that former Focus on the Family head James Dobson misrepresented her research to attack LGBT families.

Dr. Kyle Pruett, Ph.D., a professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, who has also complained that Focus on the Family distorted his work.

Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, who has consistently complained that religious right groups distorted his study to claim that the LGBT orientation is easily changeable.

 Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology at New York University, who has had to, on more than one occasion, cry foul over how religious right groups distorted her work on LGBT families.

Greg Remafedi, Professor  at the University of Minnesota, who has complained several times about how religious right groups such as the American College of Pediatricians and PFOX have distorted his work, all to no avail. The American College of Pediatricians refused his request to remove his work from their site.

In 2010, John Horgan, a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, became the 11th researcher to complain.

Last year, Tom Minnery, a spokesman from Focus on the Family, was dressed down by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) during a Congressional hearing for deliberately misrepresenting a study. Minnery initially used the study to claim, as Fitzgibbons did in his misrepresentation, that same-sex households are inferior to two parent mother/father households.

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'Good riddance, Michele Bachmann' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

After Bruising Loss In Iowa, Bachmann Bows Out - I personally never really shared the amusement of Bachmann that my fellow bloggers did. To me, she proved that demagogues come in both sexes. A hateful woman who didn't care if what she said wasn't true and when told of the fact, she doubled down on the lie. Now if only she would leave Congress.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire To Endorse Marriage Equality - Not bad at all.

They've tossed more stones than Bedrock's head contractor. Our agenda: Surviving that. - You know for all of the talk coming from the religious right about how "gays have plotted to take over America," I have yet to see any concrete proof from them and I have YET to get any orders from "national gay headquarters."

Florida Appeals Court Rules That Both Lesbian Moms Have Parental Rights - A victory which should not be overlooked.

Proposed Bill Would Permit Christian Students to Bully Gays in Tennessee: VIDEO - Ugh!

Alabama Crimson Tide Site's 'Hey Homeauxs' T-Shirt For Louisiana State University BCS Game Sparks Controversy - This t-shirt is a hot mess and a half.

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NOM anoints Santorum as 'Catholic hero'

Regardless of who won the primary last night - Romney actually won by eight votes but Santorum got the momentum, the National Organization for Marriage is patting itself on the back for supposedly contributing to Ron Paul's third place victory.

NOM ran several ads against Paul because he would not sign its silly marriage pledge. Today, the organization is crowing hard:

NOM congratulates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney for their photo-finish in Iowa. Both these candidates, along with Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are champions for traditional marriage. It’s especially satisfying to see Senator Santorum, a longtime friend and champion for the family, come from behind to mount such a successful campaign. The strong showing by both Santorum and Romney shows that supporting marriage is not only the right thing to do, it is the politically smart thing to do. This is a lesson that Ron Paul may be learning the hard way. Paul suffered a big loss by finishing third in Iowa, a state he was expecting to win. NOM aired television and online ads that were highly critical of Paul’s unacceptable stance on marriage, including his belief that civil marriage should be abolished altogether. No doubt our ads, along with tens of thousands of telephone calls and grassroots work with our thousands of supporters in Iowa were a factor in Ron Paul’s poor showing. We will continue to point out Paul’s unacceptable views on marriage to voters in upcoming states.”

Actually the idea that Paul was supposed to win isn't necessarily true. Romney was ahead in the polls.

But we know that ignoring the truth is a NOM specialty.

Now aside from the self-back slapping, NOM is also taking time out to declare Santorum as the next big thing. Try not to get nauseated as you read the following from former NOM head Maggie Gallagher calling Santorum a Catholic hero:

Rick Santorum gave a magnificent speech tonight. It was an expression, a flowering in a way I do not think America has seen in my lifetime of Catholic culture. He made his economic message more than a question of self-interest -- he made it a moral cause. He connected the dignity of every human life, with the dignity not only of work, but every human being who is made in the image of his Creator to be a creator -- a worker, and not just a consumer.

God bless him, God bless him. This is a serious fight.

Not to be outdone, another NOM employee - Thomas Peters (who wrote that ill-timed column claiming that the marriage equality push failed in NY days before it actually passed) said the following:

For many voters, tonight was the first time they got a chance to see Rick Santorum as a real contender, after he has spent the past months quietly canvassing every county in Iowa. Tonight viewers of his speech were reminded that hard work and aspiration pay off. Santorum said tonight he learned these essential lessons from the example of his grandfather and father.

He was inspiring, effective, while sounding fully like himself. He contrasted his positions with both the Democrat and Republican establishment, arguing that "cutting taxes is not enough." He offered more: for America to reach its full potential, he said, it must embrace the values that made it into the great country it is. American values, Santorum said, which are not shared by those who currently occupy the White House.

What tripe. Of course Peters - and Gallagher for that matter - don't have to worry about paying taxes or the economy because they are the beneficiaries of an obscenely huge amount of money funneled into their pockets by anonymous sources for being self-proclaimed "moral defenders" of the family.

However, the rest of us normal, ordinary folks - particularly the lgbtqs whom Santorum has waged war with over the years - aren't impressed.

You can't get the vast majority of us to vote for Santorum on a bet. That's not to say that he doesn't have his uses, however.

He certainly wiped the "I'm inevitable" smile off of Romney's face.

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