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01/29/2010

Maggie Gallagher: Professional discriminator, professional script-flipper

by Jeremy Hooper

More intellectual dishonesty from the politico who has turned disingenuity into an art form, Maggie Gallagher:

Here’s my question for [Ted Olson and David Boies] as they strive to prove that Science Says same-sex unions are just like opposite-sex ones, when it comes to children.

MaggiePerhaps you are right. Perhaps alone of all the family structures science has ever studied, children living with same-sex couples do just as well as children in intact married families. (Perhaps that is true even though your own expert witness admits there is no research on gay male families and child outcomes, and there is no nationally representative study that follows children raised from birth to adulthood by same-sex outcomes and compares how they do to children in other family forms ).

Perhaps.

But does this [
new government study on child abuse], which is one of hundreds with similar results favoring the natural family, give Ted Olson and David Boies pause late at night as they assert the scientific irrationality of respect for the natural family at all I wonder? Ted and David, I’m wondering: not even a little bit?
New Study: Married Biological Parents Best [NOM blog]

See what she does here? She pits "children living with same-sex couples" against "intact married families," overlooking the fact that in the absence of her own ignoble anti-equality activism, many (if not most) of these same-sex parents would gladly marry! Plus she takes the fact that same-sex marriage has not been a reality long enough to be part of any studies and uses that point against Olson and Boies, yet fails to acknowledge that PEOPLE LIKE HER ARE THE REASON WHY MARRIAGE EQUALITY HAS NOT TURNED INTO THE EASY, BENIGN REALITY THAT IT SHOULD BE! It's like an Orthodox Jew faulting their child for not having opinions about the taste of ham!

Then she has the nerve to ask Olson and Boies if they have trouble sleeping, suggesting that they are the ones propagating "scientific irrationality"?!?! Uhm, what?! Here she is, America's most indefatigable proponent of foisting personal faith views above any and all scientific opinion on the subject of homosexuality and gay relationships, and she's seriously suggesting that those who are seeking equality under the CIVIL law are the ones who should take pause?! What unbelievable gall!

The truth: Without Maggie's decades of discriminatory work (see: her mid-90s belief that DOMA was too "timid"), we just might have a larger sample size of married same-sex couples to study for the purposes of research. And without her continued attempts to marry church and state, we might know a populace who better understands what does and does not constitute religious freedom, and a culture that is exponentially more reverential to the true version of that freedom than the one that we know today. Yet Maggie made an unfortunate career choice, opting to use her intellect and skills for the purposes of fostering a nation that puts gays into a monolithically "other" category, and to follow a script that has been preconceived to end with inequality. So yea, it may appease her own heart to suggest that it is our side who should take pause at night, when all is quiet in the world. We get why she'd seek this peace. But for those of us who still have to fight for simple recognition of the bed that we share, Maggie's conscience-clearing visions of our insomnia elicit nothing short of a yawn. And her on-going career of collecting a paycheck off our unequal backs engenders nothing less than heartbroken questioning of some of our fellow citizens' addiction to anti-diplomacy.

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Your thoughts

"But does this [new government study on child abuse], which is one of hundreds with similar results favoring the natural family..."
So where were all of these studies during the Prop 8 trial"
surely they would want to prove that what she says is right in court.
You had a chance to put your money where you mouth is,
FAIL!

Posted by: Bob Miller | Jan 29, 2010 10:09:06 AM

With all the endless talk from our opponents about marriage being inextricably intertwined with child bearing/rearing, isn't it interesting that, from a legal standpoint, they appear unrelated: Marriage does not require child bearing/rearing, and child bearing/rearing does not require marriage. If marriage were really _ALL_ about children, wouldn't you expect to see it reflected in our laws?

Posted by: Richard Rush | Jan 29, 2010 10:18:59 AM

Ugh...again, ol' Mags appears to be making it, "all about the children". Well, has she even bothered to ask herself about those Gay couples, and their relationships that are just like heteros, who don't have (or may not even want!) children? Doubtful, because that'd probably spin as well as a square tire!

But, it's so infuriating, man, the way she's spinning the testimony to make it sound like there's some doubt or unconvinced professional scientists that have a differing and completely opposite view that our relationships are just like theirs when it comes to raising children.

Fuck, I wish that someone would seriously stand-up to her, and absolutely refute everything she has to say--publicly, like in a live broadcast on TV! Oh, it would have been soooo sweet if Mags' had been grilled by Boies. And, actually, I heard yesterday (though I don't know how reliable this source is) that NOM--specifically Gallagher--attempted to be listed as an "intervener" in this trial. if so, it would appear that her request was denied; but by whom, and for what reason, I do not know.

However, I'm not sure where she got it in her head that Ted and David's witness stated that there wasn't enough data to conclude that kids raised in gay families cannot be determined to be the same or worse than kids from heterosexist families. I didn't get that at ALL when *I* read the trial docs.! Nor, if I may *briefly* play Devil's advocate (because you KNOW how I deeply loathe and despise this woman! ...I wouldn't spit on her if she were on fire!), I don't believe that she limited her "article" to same-sex "married" families with regard to the raising of children. But, it *is* offensive that she would parade around a report on child abuse, because I KNOW that some people won't bother to read it, and infer from ehr suggestions, that we are more likely to abuse kids. 'Cause, people are sick that way...

Also, you'll note how, dear Jeremy, Mags just basicly ignores any data out there that might even imply that we are just as good parents to our children as they are by stating that certain reports on child abuse favor the "traditional family", even though they almost certainly didn't even take into account kids raised in same-sex family homes. Indeed, the American Anthropological Association has declared in a policy statement that the "traditional family", and even the "traditional marriage" is a myth imposed onto us by Christians if one HONESTLY examines the ethnographic record.

Though, dude, it SERIOUSLY pisses me off when one brings to the attention of folks such as Mags, here--or even our locally home-grown hate-group, LUV Iowa--and point out unequivocal evidence that men have legally married other men, using the definition of what each respective culture regards as "marriage", only to have them sneer and spit at the evidence (such as the Native American and Chuckchi data) and shout, "Those don't count as marriage!" (which I've seen). What? Why the hell not? Because they're not Christian, or American?

But, I promise you this, J-man: Right now she's coming for our marriage licenses and wedding bands; next she'll come for our adoption papers and prevent us from even fostering kids! Yes, I know she hasn't publicly come out and said it that plainly, but I believe that it's been implied in her previous ramblings over the years that she doesn't believe that we *should* raise kids, due to her frequent suggestion that "marriage ensures that a child has a RIGHT to know and BE KNOWN by their own biological mommy and daddy!" Call me paranoid, but this woman is a dangerous threat! Though, every once in a while I imagine her at least having to answer for her views at a Congressional Hearing and getting grilled for targeting a minority. They call her, "the American taliban" in my imagination. Awe..... :o) And, ya' know what? When I'm down and blue, that just gets me through the day! ;o)

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Jan 29, 2010 10:31:20 AM

I suppose she isn't aware of the UK Parenting Institutes findings that state same-sex couples rate as some of the most eligable parents. Female couples received the highest scores, even above straight, married couples. The study found that gay couples are, on average, better prepared, better educated, and more financially stable than their straight counterparts.

Jus' saying.

Posted by: B4GayMarriage | Jan 29, 2010 10:34:38 AM

@ Bob Miller: GOOD point!

@ B4gayMarriage: BRILLIANT point! I'd never heard that, and it would have been great to have introduced that into the Plaintiff's case. Great blog, btw.

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Jan 29, 2010 11:32:18 AM

Maybe Maggie should turn to page 6-3 of this report and look at table 6-1. Where it shows that 77.5% of the perpetrators of child abuse are the IN HOME....BIOLOGICAL...PARENT.

How does this statistic favor the "natural family", Maggie?

Posted by: Taylor | Jan 29, 2010 11:50:04 AM

I am confused. I didn't find anything about same-sex parenting in this study. So how can anyone use it to criticize same sex parenting?

Posted by: a. mcewen | Jan 29, 2010 1:21:54 PM

Oh Alvin, that's cute, acting as if Maggie needs some sort of rational basis ;-)

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2010 1:23:27 PM

From the report that the Gagger uses to "prove" that "children should know and be known by their bio parents" (a phrase that Blankenhorn threw out in trial as well - don't know if he plagiarized it from her or the vice versa):

"Perpetrator’s relationship to the child. The majority of all children countable under the Harm Standard (81%) were maltreated by their biological parents. This held true both for the abused children (64% were abused by biological parents) and for those neglected (92% were neglected by biological parents)."

Sounds to me like 81% of the children who were abused would have been better off not knowing their biological parents...

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 29, 2010 1:55:28 PM

When folks go huffing and puffing about statistics like these, it is important to remember that in the matter of the lives of the children, the consideration that one lesbian couple has done a better job than the heterosexual average tends to demonstrate that whatever failings some mean spirited people might wish to attribute to our gender preferences should be held to derive from some other causality.

The relevance of average outcomes studies to public debate and litigation like this goes back to the conclusions the Supreme Court reached in Brown v. Board of Education. They found that separate was not equal in practice because they had lots of evidence that white school boards were not putting the money into black kids education that they were putting into other kids educations. The differences were substantial. In the present matter, the differences are so modest that many studies do not even find them.

One might argue, only half in jest, that what the anti's here fear is that without the sorts of legal and cultural oppression they wish to see continued and even extended, same-sex couples would do a blatantly superior job of raising children. While, of course, some of us would find this intuitively obvious, more formal consideration would point to the way later marriage is thought to contribute to the stability of Massachusetts marriages, and the way the difficulties surrounding conception within same sex couples tend to limit accidental pregnancies and thereby increase the chance that the children that do arrive will be planned for and fully welcomed by older parents with better established careers and financial stability. It gets a bit more speculative when one argues that relationships modeling spousal equality and free choice also bring benefits to the children involved (I have heard that some heterosexuals accomplish that as well, but the statistical question is, "How often?")

Posted by: Jonathan Justice | Jan 29, 2010 2:59:11 PM

"The big gap is between the intact married biological family and every other family form."

THIS when in the paragraph directly preceding, she states that same-sex couples were NOT included.

So dishonest.

No surprise.

Posted by: Rodg | Jan 29, 2010 5:45:08 PM

Admittedly, I didn't read through the entire report, but I also found nothing about same-sex parents. So, what exactly about this should cause the anti-8 side to lose sleep?

I've been working in non-profit childcare (school age mostly) and the one time we had a same-sex kid in our care (that we knew of) both parents were extremely active in their daughters welfare, and their daughter was mature beyond her years! I've also gone to college with adults raised in same-sex families and they were no different from anyone else there, no trauma, other than having people like Maggie try to insult their family like this. Good grief!

Posted by: Piper | Jan 29, 2010 7:11:48 PM

sorry, meant to say I'd been working in non-profit childcare for almost 5 years (I'm only 24)

Posted by: Piper | Jan 29, 2010 7:13:06 PM

Exactly folks. Mag's colleague Brian Brown is crowing about this research, and I just wrote to him to break the news that NOWHERE in that study were gay parents or couples mentioned.
I also had to break to him that this research was about NEGLECT and ABUSE, which ALSO didn't compare his ideal nuclear family to a comparable GAY headed family.

I had to point out to him also, about NO marriage license requiring a test for FITNESS to parent OR be a couple for that matter prior to getting one.

And this from a fellow who kept reiterating that 'reality' is that children are better off...blah, blah, blah.

I told him he was putting the baby carriage before the act of marriage when it came to gay couples.
Something that wouldn't be an equal standard before the law whether the couple was gay OR hetero.

And more's the point, I reminded him that if he were consistent that married parents are good for children, then the children of gay parents matter too.

He tends to be a real condescending piece of work when he thinks he's talking to someone beneath him. Which is pretty much anyone gay, or who supports marriage equality and everything else equality.

Then again, perhaps the people he's only comfortable around aren't too bright, so that in comparison he'll think he's a legal genius.

I really want to laugh about this. I really do.
But, unlike BB, I have amazing and generous friends who have opened their homes to children from foster care and special needs rolls.
They need all the governmental and societal help and support to be married more than anyone in BB's tidy little idealized families.
HE doesn't have children like that, nor does HE have the challenge of dealing with it, and didn't volunteer to support PARENTS who HAVE taken on such duties.

In MY mind, it's those parents that HAVE adopted children from difficult, non biological circumstances. Those parents who might have disparate or ethnically diverse situations from their children.
And yet, from personal experience, I see beautiful, healthy (despite HIV and drug toxic damage) in those homes.

And Brian Brown will hear from me about that.
Because THAT is God's work.

Can I get a witness?

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Jan 29, 2010 7:59:33 PM

She's getting real pouty because her juicy income will disappear if the Supremes give the okay to homo/lesbo marriage. I bet she makes a couple hundred thousand a year being a hateful "person."

Posted by: homer | Jan 29, 2010 11:54:07 PM

The study did not specifically include lesbian or gay couples with children as a class reviewed. You cannot extrapolate from what does not exist in the data.

The study did review harm associated with race and employment status and even family size, i.e. “incidence rates are higher for children in the largest families, intermediate for “only” children, and lowest for children in families with two or three children”; and, not surprisingly, 80.8% of severe, countable maltreatment was associated with biological parents.

If they're truly interested in what’s best for the children–rather than just pushing their moral agenda–they should then be advocating that the only allowable ‘families’ must be employed, white, and committed to having at least two but no more than three children.

If Mr. Brown and others commenting on that site can cherry-pick bits of data to suit their agenda, why can’t I?

Posted by: ZRAinSWVA | Jan 30, 2010 10:09:49 AM

ZRAinSWVA

You have a point. But comparisons have to be made, and the research sample in certain circumstances to get accurate data.
If there IS no comparative sampling, and the research sample is very narrow, then it's only going to have a very narrow result that has NOTHING to do with anything else.

Even for the purposes of discrimination, comparisons are necessary.
In this case, all the samples were hetero parents in the marriage status he supports.

You can't compare that to gay parents from NON married status.

That's like making research samples of male sexuality in prisons, representative of GAY male sexuality anywhere else.
Just because the activity is same sex, doesn't mean the participants are gay, nor representative of what they'd do without a coercive, captive situation.


What most people who have paid attention have noted is that the anti gay protest and complain about research done with federal money, or even private interests of gay equality representatives, even if it's not gay people or organizations who have the interests.
What you get, are researchers who have the means, funding and interest in longer, broader and more comprehensive (therefore more accurate) research results.

Whereas, the anti gay, don't want to invest too much money in such research, so therefore their results tend to be narrower, less involving a broad sample, and even less samples for comparison.
And even if they borrow some research from the aforementioned, they will extrapolate and outright distort.

Several times, when James Dobson did so, especially in a well publicized incident involving TIME magazine, the very researchers he quoted and distorted, found out and contacted him IMMEDIATELY and to c & d.
Dobson's response was to ignore them. He did not retract, nor apologize.
Three of the doctors were explicit that they never did, nor WOULD have their research results used to engage homophobia or any kind of discrimination, especially in civil law.

So, as we saw with the court case in SF, material that validates fear and demonization of gay people can backfire.

Interestingly, when a person who has CLINICAL disorders, whether they are mental, or genetic: are not denied marriage equality, even if the care or physical disease limits their ability, OR that possibly of their offspring.

Even committed doctors like Tam, Dobson and so on, don't demonize the mentally and genetically ill as fair game for discrimination from marriage and family.

Just goes to show you that falsifying or playing fast and loose with clinical information is very serious.
And people with 'Dr.' in front of their names, should especially be sanctioned, if not censured, when they engage in what Tam and Dobson tend to.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Jan 30, 2010 4:01:27 PM

@Wade MacMorrighan-- Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it...

Also, an article referencing the study I mentioned: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article6917212.ece

Posted by: B4GayMarriage | Jan 30, 2010 6:34:50 PM

The irony is that Maggie doesn't realize that this study refutes her primary premise. All of the other models which are less preferable than biological married parents: solo parents, other married parents (remarried primarily), single parents living with a partner, and cohabiting parents, all can legally marry.

Assuming that gay couples are at least as good as any of these (and studies show that they may be better than several), then consistency would demand that they be allowed to marry as well.

The question is not whether gay parents are equal to married biological parents, but whether they are at least as good as Anna Nicole Smith and her octogenarian, Britney and Kevin, the drunk gambler and the cocktail waitress, or the serial killer and his pen pal. Because none of these are required to be ideal in order to have their rights upheld.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Feb 1, 2010 2:43:33 PM

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