Sen. Al Franken vs. “Focus on the Family”

In Senate testimony this week at a hearing entitled, “The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,” Senator Al Franken took issue with testimony from Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President at “Focus on the Family.” There’s a delightful video of Sen. Franken’s opening statement and brief exchanges between the senator and witnesses:

Sen. Franken’s opening statement was pretty powerful, and I encourage you to read the full text of his speech here. (There are portions in his prepared opening remarks that were not spoken aloud in the video above.) Of course, for me the big entertainment value was in his verbal skewering of Mr. Minnery’s testimony… Especially because the author of the study Minnery quoted confirms that Sen. Franken’s interpretation of the study is correct.

Mr. Minnery contends that the study proves that straight, married couples create the best households for raising children. Dr. Debra L. Blackwell, lead author of the study, confirms that the “nuclear family” touted in the study is defined 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.”

Both the survey and the survey’s findings included same-sex couples, and the lessons learned about two parents providing an optimal environment for child-rearing include two parents of the same gender. Mr. Minnery may have a personal bias against same-sex couples, but the science doesn’t back up his assertions in this case.

I’ll let Sen. Franken have the last word here: “I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways.”

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