Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rightwing Roundup: Correcting the Anti-Gay Industry

1) Correcting the Anti-Gay Industry

Last week, I wrote about the anti-gay industry's lies about pending Hate Crimes legislation that would include sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability to the current Hate Crimes law. Specifically, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Exodus International, WorldNetDaily, Digital Network Army (via email blast), Illinois Family Institute, Traditional Values Coalition, and Liberty Counsel have claimed that "paraphilias" like bestiality and necrophilia (sex with dead people) are "sexual orientations" that will be protected under the Hate Crimes law. Numerous bloggers and media sources, including political fact checker PolitFact, have pointed out this lie.

Well, via The Box Turtle Bulletin, the Illinois Family Institute has issued a correction admitting that they "mistakenly stated that the American Psychiatric Association’s actual definition of 'sexual orientation' includes paraphilias. The APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) classifies 'sexual orientation' as heterosexual, homosexual, and bi-sexual. The 547 mental disorders called 'paraphilias' specifically involve non-human objects, physical pain, or unwilling partners as in pedophilia. IFI apologizes for the error."

The IFI claims that it made a mistake, and given that many of the people who run such organizations are not mental health professionals, I don't find that hard to believe. I can fathom how maybe their mistake is the result of ignorance, as opposed to hatred. I applaud the IFI for owning up to its error. But still, and this comment is mostly aimed at the larger organizations who have not admitted their error, check your facts people. The IFI made an error and admitted it, but what accounts for the fact that so many other organizations have parroted this inaccuracy? Are we to believe that all of these various family values organizations genuinely don't know the difference between "sexual orientation" and "paraphilia"? Do these organizations not have editors or competent professionals on their staff to check facts? Isn't it responsible to check out statements you hear before promoting and echoing them, or does accuracy not matter when ScArY StOrIeS are to be written? If I remember correctly, a pretty common shared American Value is honesty. The public deserves truth and the members of these organizations should demand as much.

Also, via Truth Wins Out, Exodus International has silently corrected the definition of "sexual orientation" on its website albeit without publicly acknowledging its error. I suppose that's better than nothing. However, the folks over at Truth Wins Out make a good point about Exodus International, an organization that promotes "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ":

"How is it that an organization of Exodus’ longevity, which claims to teach churches the 'Truth' about sexuality, could not tell the difference between orientation — an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction toward others — and what the APA calls 'recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning'?

Why has Exodus refused to tell its churches and supporters that the organization has been lying about such basic information?"

Will Exodus release a correct statement and admission of error? And, when will these other organizations issue corrections and admissions of error?

2) And, Another Correction

In similar news, the family values group Cornerstone Policy Research recently claimed to have surveyed "every New Hampshire household" and found that "64% supported marriage to only one-man one-woman." Focus on the Family then parroted this claim that "marriage defenders" then echoed and echoed. (That reminds me, although "marriage defense" blogger Chairm has managed to author scores of comments and blogposts in the past 7 months since he promoted the dishonest hate-group-authored Mass Resistance piece on the "harm" of same-sex marriage, I hope he will find time to justify this previous parroting of inaccuracy as promised, even though he considers my request to be "trivial").

Well, via Good-As-You, Gary Schneeberger from Focus on the Family admitted that they made an error and that it was "not accurate to say that all households in New Hampshire responded to the survey questions." Well, of course. To anyone with a halfway objective mind, it would be preposterous to believe that researchers could survey every single household in a state. Sadly, some of these organizations don't give their own members, or the discerning public, very much credit. What's even more sad is that some people have accepted this ridiculous claim without question.

Not only that, but it's been pointed out that the survey question was highly misleading. Specifically, one journalist observed that it asked:

"This survey concerns a new law the state Legislature just passed that will affect marriage in New Hampshire. Do you agree that marriage between only one man and one woman should be legal in New Hampshire?"

Well of course people are going to say yes to that. One can, after all, believe that marriage between "only one man and one woman should be legal" while also believing that same-sex marriage should also be legal. The placement of the word "only" in the question is confusing, misleading, and erroneous. If the researchers wanted to know whether people believed that only a marriage between a man and a woman should be legal, they should have just asked "Do you agree that only marriage between one man and one woman should be legal." However, their current question is an entirely different one. Word placement is everything.

You know, when those working in the anti-gay industry prove time and time again to be incompetent and/or error-prone, you start to question their real motives as well as the accuracy of the rest of their claims regarding the Great Harms That Will Befall Society If Gay People Get Married! The American people aren't (all) suckers, and that's why the dominoes are falling.

Well done Box Turtle Bulletin, Truth Wins Out, and Good-As-You! Well done. Correcting lies and errors that the anti-gay industry puts out could be full-time jobs for many people.

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