Monday, March 25, 2013

Focus on the Family talking head shows his ignorance, homophobia

Glenn T. Stanton
Religious right groups are continuing their sad attempts of calling out the American Academy of Pediatrics for formally supporting same-sex families.

 Last week, NOM, the Family Research Council, and the so-called American College of Pediatricians (a shell-group pushing anti-gay propaganda) spoke their piece. Recently, Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family had some negative words about the AAP. He really should have kept his mouth shut:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued what appears to be a politically motivated statement suggesting that children raised by same-sex parents do just fine. In fact, the AAP goes so far as to suggest that children are more affected by the health of the relationship between the people raising them than by whether they are being raised by their own mother and father.

Sadly, the report is not rooted in social science but instead in a spirit of radical social activism, causing the authors to come to a fantastical and wishful conclusion.  Regarding this issue, we must consider two important things that we do know.

1)    The current research on how children fare developmentally in lesbian homes (there is virtually no research on male-headed families) has so many serious methodological limitations and problems that it cannot be counted on to draw any kind of reliable conclusion. The AAP’s own journal Pediatrics published a study (see p. 3 of study) in 2010 on this topic which makes this very clear to anyone who examines the methodology employed in reaching the study’s findings. This study’s weaknesses are also clearly displayed in the published explanation (see p. 274-275) of the study’s purpose and methodology. The research base they are employing is a house of cards.

2)    There is an absolute wealth of very strong, consistent and diverse research demonstrating that when children are raised in a home other than with the child’s own married mother and father, that child is significantly more likely to experience a host of serious physical, psychological, educational, and behavioral disadvantages. And no data exists that this is not also true of same-sex homes. It should be noted that this body of data is so convincing that it compelled both the Clinton and Bush administrations to launch dynamic and sweeping initiatives to promote and increase greater fatherhood involvement in the lives of their children. Fathers matter greatly in the daily lives of their children.

Let's break this down - Stanton's first point is a claim that one study looking at lesbian homes has many "methodological limitations and problems." But that point is irrelevant.  Stanton lists one study which he claims has methodological problems. To reach its conclusion, the AAP looked at several studies on same-sex parenting.

In his second point, Stanton makes the claim about the many studies which prove his point, but where are they? He doesn't even list one. Then he tries to get extremely tricky by saying that no data exists that says children  in same-sex households don't have physical, psychological, or education disadvantages. The problem with Stanton's turn of phrase here is how he implies that same-sex households must prove that they are not harmful to children. That makes as much sense as racists telling African-Americans that they have to prove that they deserve the right to equality.

Seems to me that if any person or group implies that same-sex households are negative towards children, then the burden of proof must fall on them. Furthermore in his second point, Stanton falsely connects the problem of absent fathers in the household to same-sex families.  That correalation simply does not exist.

And, believe it or not, when Stanton questioned the credibility of the AAP in his first point, he opened himself up. What about his credibility? Stanton is not a pediatrician and has no expertise in pediatrics whatsoever. However, as a member of Focus on the Family, he has written many negative opinions on lgbts in general, some accusing the gay community of nonexistent diseases. In the piece Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal, Stanton said:

Diseases such as hepatitis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, anal carcinoma and rectal infections involving gonorrhea, herpes simplex, syphilis and human papillomavirus are disproportionately seen among homosexual men when compared to heterosexual men and women. These diseases are extremely rare among married, monogamous men and women. In addition, because of the extremely high rate of incidence among homosexuals, a group of rare intestinal diseases have been grouped together under the title "gay bowel syndrome. 

There is no such thing as "gay bowel syndrome."

In addition, he once called marriage equality "a lie of Satan."

The rest of Stanton's piece is highly suspect:

The AAP been openly advocating for homosexual parenting since 2001. But such advocacy comes from a small group within the AAP who focus primarily on gay and lesbian issues. At the start of this advocacy, the leader of these efforts reported in an email to select members that the Academy “received more messages — almost of all them CRITICAL — from the members about the recent Policy Statement on [same-sex parent adoption] than it has EVER received on any other topic. (emphasis in original). She reported significant withdrawals and threats of withdrawals of membership.

She then explained that “this is a serious problem, as it means it will become harder to continue the work we have been doing to use the AAP as vehicle for positive change.” (emphasis added)

 I hope Stanton will forgive my suspicions regarding his last claim.

Then again, I don't care if he doesn't. I think he is not telling the truth.

I also think that when Stanton was attacking the credibility of the AAP in his first point, he was simply playing a game of transference.  The AAP is a 600,000 member body with a huge amount of credibility.

Stanton is simply a hack with a cross emblazoned in his mind which most likely deludes him into thinking any lie he tells is okay as long as it is a lie told against gays.

Just who would you believe?

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