One thing that consistent when it comes to dealing with the Religious Right is that you can’t trust a word they say or write. I’d go as far as to say that when they make any sort of statement, it’s best to assume they’re lying unless proven otherwise. The latest case of a Religious Right organization lying about the work of an actual researcher is a doozy:
This time it’s Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons of NARTH, writing a long piece about same-sex adoption. It has a small section titled, “The children do suffer,” with this opening:
There are strong indications that children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father.
He brings up two studies to support this, one of them by Seton Hall professor Dr. Theodora Sirota, and then regretfully tells us:
Not surprisingly, there are scholars who oppose this weighty evidence.
I know something that might surprise Fitzgibbons: One of those opposing scholars is — have you guessed? — Seton Hall professor Dr. Theodora Sirota, the source of his weighty evidence.
Dr. Sirota wrote to Box Turtle Bulletin to ask them to help spread the word about the misrepresentation of her work by NARTH. As with most Religious Right lies, it’s fairly simple and staring you in the face, but you have to actually know the content of Sirota’s research to see it:
You can read the full text of Sirota’s message here, but let me put it in a nutshell. To support his denunciation of same-sex adoption, Fitzgibbons offers this summary of Sirota’s research:
Researchers interviewed 68 women with gay or bisexual fathers and 68 women with heterosexual fathers. The women (average age 29 in both groups) with gay or bisexual fathers had difficulty with adult attachment issues in three areas: they were less comfortable with closeness and intimacy; they were less able to trust and depend on others; and they experienced more anxiety in relationships compared to the women raised by heterosexual fathers.
The problem is not with what Fitzgibbons said; it’s what he left out: The gay and bisexual fathers in Sirota’s study were married to the mothers.
Dr. Sirota’s article is about the impact of a homosexual father raising a girl in a heterosexual marriage. It has nothing to do with same-sex couples, nothing to do with same-sex adoption at all.
Typical. This is very similar to the tactics wingnuts like Maggie Gallagher employ when they compare statistics of children raised in single parent homes vs. married parent homes in order to argue against gay parenting. Because you see, in so many places, gay parents can’t be technically married, therefore it’s reasonable to say that loving, committed gay couples raising children are the same as single parents, right? Of course not, but wingnuts are liars.
Alvin McEwen has a nice little round-up of other instances of wingnuts misrepresenting actual grown-up science to further their ideology here.