“I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways,” Franken told Thomas Minnery of Focus on the Family, the conservative Colorado-based group that opposes same-sex marriage.
The study in question, published by a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in 2010, found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families – a point Minnery, senior vice president for public policy, said means children are better off with straight, married parents.
But Franken pointed out that the study’s definition of “nuclear family” does not specify the gender of the parents in such families, suggesting a lack of evidence that same-sex couples’ kids are less healthy than the children of straight couples.
“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.
The study’s definition of nuclear family is: “one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents of all the children in the family.”
That means the study does not provide evidence that straight couples’ children necessarily fare better than same-sex couples’ kids, as Minnery claimed.
Politico notes that Minnery's assertions drew "big laughs from the audience" as it became apparent how misleading his testimony was.
Focus on the Family is one of the organizations recently designated as a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011 for the anti-gay rights activism. (This final statement might not be accurate. I've asked SPLC for clarification and will update the post and make any corrections needed. There are conflicting news stories.).
SPLC called back this morning and clarified that while Focus on the Family works closely with organizations that have been labeled "hate groups" - organizations such as the Family Research Council - and while they engage in anti-civil rights activities their work has not caused them to be designated as a hate group by SPLC. I apologize for the incorrect statement. See, facts matters.