Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), a co-sponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Respect for Marriage Act (intended to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA) has done it again, and in his usual matter-of-fact way. During Wednesday morning’s Senate DOMA hearings he took on some Focus on the Family Mythmaking. Senate Republicans obligingly made Franken’s surgical nuclear strike possible by calling Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery as a witness, along with David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, all extreme right-wing hate groups.
Minnery, senior vice president of Government and Public Policy for Focus on the Family, gave testimony was follows:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains in its new and exhaustive report, Family Structure and Children’s Health in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey, 2001-2007, that children living with their own married biological or adoptive mothers and fathers were generally healthier and happier, had better access to healthcare, less likely to suffer mild or severe emotional problems, did better in school, were protected from physical, emotional and sexual abuse and almost never live in poverty, compared with children in any other family form.
In fact, in all the ways we know how to measure child well-being, having a married mother and father is consistently shown to be the ideal family form across all important measures. And as I will point out next, no reliable data indicates that same-sex parenting comes anywhere close to rivaling married mothers and fathers for optimum child well-being outcomes.
At that point, Franken did what comes naturally.
FRANKEN: Mr. Minnery, on page 8 of your written testimony, you write, quote, “children living in their own married biological or adoptive — with their own biological or adoptive mothers and fathers were generally healthier and happier, had better access to healthcare, less likely to suffer mild or severe emotional problems, did better in school, were protected from physical, emotional and sexual abuse and almost never live in poverty, compared with children in any other family form.”
You cite a Department of Health and Human Services study that I have right here, from December 2010, to support this conclusion. I checked the study out. And I would like to enter it into the record if I may.
And it actually doesn’t say what you said it says. It says that nuclear families, not opposite sex married families, are associated with those positive outcomes. Isn’t it true, Mr. Minnery, that a married same sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a nuclear family in the study that you cite?
MINNERY: I would think that the study, when it cites nuclear families, would mean a family headed by a husband and wife.
FRANKEN: It doesn’t. The study defines a nuclear family as ‘one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all the children in the family. And I frankly, don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways.
The laughter which accompanied Franken’s last statement was well-earned.
What the study Frankin questioned Minnery about determined that children in nuclear families do better health-wise. Minnery (and Focus on the Family) has been pretending that this study shows that children with straight, married parents do better than in same-sex families. But as Frankin pointed out, this isn’t at all what the study says. The study shows that by two-parent households they are not distinguishing between the genders of the parents. In other words, the study is not evidence that same-sex couples make worse parents.
“Sen. Franken is right,” the lead author of the study told POLITICO. 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.
There it is, for all the world to see: Focus on the Family lying about gay and lesbian people. Imagine that. And Al Franken deserves the medal of freedom for this public service.
In his testimony, Minnery made a point of stressing that Focus on the Family is doing God’s work by regularly lying to 230 million people around the world each day in 26 languages. I hope they are proud of this accomplishment. I am sure no God worthy of being called a God would be.