By: Shannon Ralph
In a move that made me extremely proud to have voted for him, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) took a Focus on the Family executive head-on during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, challenging the validity of the witness’ testimony.
Thomas Minnery of Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based group that vehemently opposes same-sex marriage, had cited a 2010 U.S. Health and Human Services study that found better health outcomes for children living in nuclear families. Minnery indicated —or rather made the completely inaccurate assumption— that the study defines “nuclear family” as opposite-sex married couples with children, and that the study was proof-positive that children fare better with straight, married parents.
Franken, however, succinctly pointed out that the study’s definition of nuclear family does not specify the gender of the parents in these families. Rather, the study defines nuclear family as ”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.”
“Isn’t it true, Mr. Minnery,” Franken asked, “that a married, same-sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a nuclear family in the study you cite?”
“I would think that the study, when it cites nuclear family, would mean a family headed by husband and wife,” Minnery responded.
“It doesn’t,” Franken deadpanned, garnering big laughs from the audience. He then went on to read the definition verbatim from the study, adding, “I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies this way.”
“Sen. Franken is right,” said Debra Blackwell, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “The survey did not exclude same-sex couples, nor did it exclude them from the ‘nuclear family’ category provided their family met the study’s definition.”
This is yet another example of the religious right twisting fact into fiction to support their unenlightened agenda. Way to go Al for putting Mr. Minnery in his place!
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