Monday, March 05, 2012

Family Research Council lies, cherry-picks to defend Kirk Cameron

I've tried not to weigh in on the Kirk Cameron situation because I think that sometimes my lgbtq brothers and sisters get wrapped up in the words of a celebrity, or in this case, a has-been celebrity more than more important issues.

But to paraphrase Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III, they pulled me in.

The "they" in this case being the Family Research Council.

Cameron, former star of the television series Growing Pains and a devout Christian criticized marriage equality  last weekend during an interview with Piers Morgan. Cameron also called homosexuality "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive."

Since that time, the gay group GLAAD and several other celebrities have been commenting. As for me, I could care less. Cameron doesn't know me so his opinion of who I am doesn't matter to me.

But leave it to the Family Research Council to attempt to score some easy points by weighing in on the controversy. And guess whose side the organization came out on:

Where is the tolerance? You won't find any on display with homosexual activists who are determined to attack and silence anyone who dares to disagree or challenge their political or social agenda. Their latest target is actor Kirk Cameron. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is attacking Cameron for remarks he made in an interview with Piers Morgan last Friday, in which he said that the definition of marriage should be, "One man, one woman for life till death do you part." Cameron, a born-again Christian who starred in the movie Left Behind and the pro-marriage film Fireproof, also said he considers homosexuality to be "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive." Perhaps it's GLAAD, not the 1980s teen star, who's out of step, since a 2011 poll showed that 62% of Americans agree with the statement, "I believe marriage should be defined ONLY as a union between one man and one woman." Another 2011 poll found a substantial majority of Americans (56%) believe that "sex between two adults of the same gender" is "morally wrong." 

First of all, anyone labeling any group as "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive" shouldn't be surprised if some members of said group publicly raises hell over the labeling.  The outcome is no different than it would be had Cameron made negative comments about African-Americans or Jewish people.

Maggie Gallagher's doublespeak on same-sex couples and children

Remember what Maggie Gallagher (supposedly formerly of the National Organization for Marriage) said last year when confronted by the fact that her organization's blog links to junk science (i.e. the discredited work of Paul Cameron) and information which portrays gays as harmful to children:

I would like to say personally that nothing in any argument I've ever made on gay marriage, rests on the idea that same-sex couples harm their own children at any higher rates than any other family form. (If there is data that shows this, I've never seen it.)

Of course those of us who have followed NOM knew that Gallagher was playing damage control and nothing more. And today, Equality Matters proves it:

In a March 3rd blog post, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) promoted a column headlined: “Love Isn’t Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children.” The column – originally published in 2007 –was written by Dr. Trayce Hansen, whom NOM described as “a licensed psychologist with a clinical and forensic practice.”

Hansen’s five reasons are, unsurprisingly, riddled with anti-gay talking points that have been widely discredited by mainstream medical organizations, including the harmful myths that children of same-sex parents face developmental problems and are more likely to identify as gay:
A father teaches a boy how to properly channel his aggressive and sexual drives. A mother can’t show a son how to control his impulses because she’s not a man and doesn’t have the same urges as one. A father also commands a form of respect from a boy that a mother doesn’t––a respect more likely to keep the boy in line. And those are the two primary reasons why boys without fathers are more likely to become delinquent and end up incarcerated. 
Fourth, same-sex marriage will increase sexual confusion and sexual experimentation by young people. The implicit and explicit message of same-sex marriage is that all choices are equally acceptable and desirable. So, even children from traditional homes—influenced by the all-sexual-options-are-equal message—will grow up thinking it doesn’t matter whom one relates to sexually or marries. Holding such a belief will lead some—if not many—impressionable young people to consider sexual and marital arrangements they never would have contemplated previously. And children from homosexual families, who are already more likely to experiment sexually, would do so to an even greater extent, because not only was non-traditional sexuality role-modeled by their parents, it was also approved by their society. [emphasis added]

What's even more annoying is that Hansen provides no citations to prove this theory, which is not surprising.  Equality Matters calls out Hansen as somewhat of a fraud:

She’s a member of the American College of Pediatricians, a right-wing, anti-gay organization notorious for misrepresenting and misusing research to demonize LGBT people. In 2009, she testified in defense of an “ex-lesbian” who was trying to deny her former partner access to their children, but her testimony was roundly dismissed for being unqualified: 
Dr. Hansen never had been qualified as an expert witness by any court. Dr. Hansen never had been retained by any party as an expert witness. Dr. Hansen's psychology practice involved geriatric patients. Dr. Hansen conceded that she currently did not work with children and had fewer than four years of professional experience after earning her Ph.D. She had worked as a research assistant and had published one article in the journal Personality Assessment in a forensic-type situation. [emphasis added] 
Hansen has written multiple articles arguing that marriage equality “will increase the prevalence of homosexuality” and claimed that LGBT-inclusive curricula encourage children to engage in destructive and unhealthy behavior.

But here is the thing which really annoys me. If Gallagher claims that she does not believe same-sex couples harm their children at a higher rate than "any other family form," then why does her organization push the work of people who do make that claim?

My guess is that she will probably say something along the lines of the following:

Some in the gay blogosphere are trying to assert that NOM--or me--endorses the view of every blogger/article NOM links to, by the act of linking to it.

This would lead to the absurd conclusion that NOM endorses the editorial positions of the New York Times, because NOM links to them--or The Advocate for that matter, as we often link to stories in the gay press.
If you want to know what NOM's message is, there are abundant videos and press stories (including our own press releases) with me, or Brian Brown, or other NOM personnel actually speaking. Fair enough to criticize us for what we actually believe and say.

The standard "a link constitutes an endorsement" would cut off the free flow of ideas at the knees.

That's all well and good, but NOM doesn't simply link to Hansen's post. NOM publishes an abridged version of Hansen's piece on its blog.

So what does that mean?

It means that Gallagher and NOM are speaking out of both sides of their mouths and are expecting the rest of us to let them do it.

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'Religious right 'expert' caught lying again' and other Monday midday news briefs

For @vote4marraigeNC, Sunday church service = tour stop It stands to reason that if you are doing something in the middle of church services, you will get a big crowd, but they aren't necessarily there to see you. You are just an added on.

Focus On The Family’s Minnery Peddles Distortions About Colorado's Civil Union Bill - After the public embarrassment he endured from Sen. Al Franken after caught lying during a Congressional hearing, one would think that Tom Minnery had enough. He hasn't.

More on Minnery's lies courtesy of Think Progress.

Evie, Obama's Transgender Ex-Nanny, Reveals Lifetime Of Torment In Indonesia - We need pray for our sister.

City opens new senior center for LGBT New Yorkers - This is good news, indeed!

Conservative 'Pro-Family' Groups Silent on Rush Limbaugh's Sexist Outbursts - Surprising no one, of course.

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Maine victory continues to haunt National Organization for Marriage

It's going to be a wild 2012 election season, particularly with marriage equality on the ballot in several states including North Carolina, Minnesota, and Maine.

Maine, however, is probably the most interesting battle. The National Organization for Marriage and its allies actually defeated marriage equality via a referendum in 2009. There will be another referendum this year after supporters of marriage equality got enough signatures to the question on the ballot.

With that mind, I have two things to say - Remember how they lied in Maine to defeat marriage equality there in 2009 AND make sure everyone not only knows it but NEVER forgets it.

Remember the words of Marc Mutty, head of the 2009 anti-marriage equality campaign (from the documentary Question One: the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage in America):

It's all about hysteria and fear.

And here is something else to keep in mind. According to writer Ned Flaherty, the Roman Catholic Church has announced that it will not be taking an active role in the marriage equality fight in Maine. Flaherty writes:

Bishop Richard Malone, the sect’s top-ranking official in Maine, said on 2 March that his goal now is only to re-train the wayward 25% of Maine’s 187,306 Catholics.  He said that the church “doesn’t want to impose a law or belief on anyone, especially non-Catholic citizens, who comprise 86% of Maine residents, and 77% of all Americans.  Maine voters will decide by ballot in November whether to write same-gender marriage into state law.    

Historically, Roman Catholic officials have opposed virtually every regulation, policy, and law proposed to protect LGBT people nationwide.  Toward that end, the church spent $1.9 million to repeal Maine’s new marriage equality statute in 2009, after the legislature and governor had already enacted it.

Friday’s historic retreat is the first of its kind for this religious sect, and is profound.  Such changes are not made independently, and are always coordinated with higher church officials.  The Diocese of Maine, located in Portland, is a corporation sole which reports to the Ecclesiastical Province of Boston, located in Boston, Massachusetts, which includes the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

How convenient that the Catholic Church makes this announcement after the Supreme Court refused to hear the National Organization for Marriage's challenge of Maine campaign finance disclosure laws. 

Odds are that Maine is one victory that NOM is beginning to regret.

Related post - How NOM wins - Creating doubt and fear about children 

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