THE BLOG
09/09/2010 10:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Family Research Council plays loose with facts in criticizing gay marriage

Perusing the Family Research Council's webpage is always a bonanza for me because there is always something there which can be pointed out as an example of how religious right groups distort studies and current events to push the false "radical homosexual activists are hurting America" narrative.

And today didn't disappoint. There is a piece, Ten Facts About Counterfeit Marriage, which supposedly gives a point-by-point reason as to why gay marriage is wrong.

Now many of the points are basic arguments with no facts backing them up as to why heterosexual marriage is "pure as the driven snow" and how gays and lesbians want to drive a bunch of tire tracks into this snow.

But when FRC starts spouting studies, the organization gets into trouble in terms of accuracy:

Many homosexuals and their sex partners may sincerely believe they can be good parents. But children are not guinea pigs for grand social experiments in redefining marriage, and should not be placed in settings that are unsuitable for raising children.

�� Transient relationships: While a high percentage of married couples remain married for up to 20 years or longer, with many remaining wedded for life, the vast majority of homosexual relationships are short-lived and transitory. This has nothing to do with alleged "societal oppression." A study in the Netherlands , a gay-tolerant nation that has legalized homosexual marriage, found the average duration of a homosexual relationship to be one and a half years.

�� Serial promiscuity: Studies indicate that while three-quarters or more of married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples typically engage in a shocking degree of promiscuity. The same Dutch study found that "committed" homosexual couples have an average of eight sexual partners (outside of the relationship) per year. Children should not be placed in unstable households with revolving bedroom doors.

But the study FRC is referring to had nothing to do with same-sex marriage or same-sex households with children for a number of reasons.

The study was conducted by one Maria Xiridou of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service. Her study did not look at gay marriage but was designed to "access the relative contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam and to determine the effect of increasing sexually risky behaviours among both types of partnerships in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy."
 
For this study, Dr. Xiridou received her information from the Amsterdam Cohort Study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS Among Homosexual Men. To gain this information, researchers studied 1,800 gay men between the years of 1984- 2000.

Same sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001, thus making the information irrelevant to points about gay marriage. Information for the Amsterdam Cohort Study is found here.

Furthermore, lesbians were not included in the study and, as far as it is known, there were no questions in the study regarding lgbt households with children.

Now far be it from me to start pointing fingers, but I noticed how cleverly FRC pushed that talking point without actually stating that the couples in the study were married.

Also where would the FRC piece be without a phony panic story about what could happen if same-sex marriage became legal across the country:

If homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, then children in public schools will be taught that homosexuality is a normative lifestyle, and that gay households are just another "variant" style of family. Those who object may find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Unbelievable? This Orwellian situation has occurred in Massachusetts , which legalized homosexual marriage in 2004. In April 2005, David Parker, the parent of a six-year-old boy, protested to the Lexington elementary school after his son was taught about homosexual "families" in his kindergarten class.

At a scheduled meeting at the school, when Parker refused to back down from his request that the school honor the Massachusetts parental notification statute, he was arrested for "trespassing," handcuffed, and put in jail overnight. The next morning Parker was led handcuffed into court for his arraignment, and over the next several months endured two subsequent court appearances before the school district backed down and decided to drop all charges against him. In 2007, Parker's lawsuit against the Lexington school officials was dismissed by a federal judge who refused to uphold his civil rights and to enforce the Massachusetts parental notification statute.

FRC's version of the story isn't accurate.  I've written about the Parker case on several occasions, including this piece. Here are the bare bones:

Parker's son was not taught about "homosexual families" in his kindergarten class. He brought home a "diversity bookbag" in which one book featured a same-sex family. When Parker complained, the school assured him that his son was not being "taught" about homosexuality but that since children from same-sex households attended his son's school, they couldn't stop the children from talking about their families.

The parent notification statute alluded to by FRC had to do with sexual education, but did not have anything to do with differing families. This was told to Parker by school officials.

Parker and his wife requested that the school, in the future, ensure that teachers automatically remove their children from discussions of same-sex households, even if the issue rises spontaneously. It was explained to Parker and his wife that the policy allowing students to opt out of discussions of human sexuality was not relevant here and the Parkers' request was "not practical" because children could discuss "such matters among themselves at school." That was when Parker refused to leave the meeting and subsequently got arrested.

Seems to me that that the main thing counterfeit in FRC's piece on "counterfeit marriages" is the idea that gay marriage is somehow harmful to society.  And it also goes to show that the lgbt community and our allies must remain vigilant in pointing out the errors of so-called "family values" groups like FRC.