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NOM: Franken Ambushed Minnery At DOMA Hearing

August 01, 2011 6:37 pm ET by Carlos Maza

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is just grasping at straws now.

You may remember the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing two weeks ago on the Respect for Marriage Act, during which Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) grilled Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery for citing a study he claimed proved children were better off with heterosexual parents. That study, of course, didn’t say what Minnery claimed it said, which Sen. Franken pointed out (and the study’s author later confirmed). 

The exchange did not reflect well on NOM, which has adopted the “children need a mother and a father” argument as one of its primary justifications for opposing marriage equality.

So what was NOM’s response to Sen. Franken’s debunking of one of its central tenets?: Minnery was ambushed! Franken is a bully!

In a blog post entitled “MN Public Radio Host: Sen. Franken Wrong to Ambush Tom Minnery at DOMA Hearing,” NOM highlighted an article written by Carrie Daklin, a contributor for Minnesota Public Radio, in which Daklin chastises Fraken for the “hostility” he allegedly displayed during the hearing. In an excerpt of the article quoted by NOM, Daklin writes:

Humiliation and respect are mutually exclusive. I am afraid that in his zest for the issue at hand, Sen. Franken, wittingly or not, fostered humiliation instead of respect.

The point here is not where you fall on DOMA or gay marriage. The point is that Franken, sadly, did exactly what we as a nation are finding so frustrating in government today: He polarized the situation. He escalated it. And that is not an appropriate role for the powerful position he occupies.

A typical NOM response: when things aren’t going your way, accuse your opponent of being a bully.

It makes sense that NOM would focus on Franken’s style and not the substance of his argument; the group is no stranger to manipulating and misrepresenting studies in order to claim that gays and lesbians aren’t capable of being effective parents. In fact, NOM chairwoman Maggie Gallagher did just that, under oath, during Congress’ last hearing concerning the Defense of Marriage Act.

This is a trend with groups like NOM and others in the anti-gay movement. As Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality at New York University wrote in 2004:

According to the child protection discourse that Professor Wardle, Maggie Gallagher, and others deploy, social science research demonstrates that legalizing same-sex marriage poses dangers to children and families… In particular, claims that research establishes the superiority of the married heterosexual-couple family and that children need a mother and a father conflate and confuse research findings on four distinct variables - the sexual orientation, gender, number, and the marital status of parents… Unfortunately, opponents of same-sex marriage, like Maggie Gallagher and Professor Wardle, and even some advocates, draw selectively, indiscriminately, and inappropriately from research findings about all four variables to address questions the studies were not designed to, and are not able, to illuminate. [University School of Quinnipiac Law Review, via Lexis, 2004, emphasis added]

It’s unclear why NOM views Sen. Franken’s line of questioning as an “ambush.” Maybe NOM just isn’t used to having it distortions of the truth about same-sex parenting exposed.


NOM Continues Its Campaign Against Safe Schools For LGBT Youth

Do NOM’s Public Misinformation Campaigns Increase Anti-Gay Violence?

NOM: You’re Only A Bully If You Support Gay Rights

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