NOM’s and Maggie Gallagher’s Anti-Gay Lies
For this article, the definition of the word “lie” is understood to include, but not necessarily to be limited to: “an inaccurate or false statement.” Additionally, NOM’s Maggie Gallagher has specifically been invited to provide documentation for anything I write about her that she alleges is not factual. We will publish corrections to any factually incorrect thing written here. If Gallagher wants to claim that NOM did not sponsor a rally in the Bronx where a NOM-approved speaker yelled through a megaphone that homosexuals are “worthy to death,” for instance, she should feel free to submit evidence showing that this video of a NOM-approved speaker yelling that homosexuals are “worthy to death” was not filmed at a NOM rally.
In their War Against Gays, the so-called National Organization for Marriage generally, and NOM’s Maggie Gallagher in particular, have no respect for facts or truth.
That lack of respect for truth is currently in evidence in NOM’s and Gallagher’s promotions of an invalid sociological study that NOM leaders got financed and that was then carried out by the University of Texas, Austin’s religious right wing Mark Regnerus. The main political aim of the NOM-leaders-funded, invalid Regnerus study is to demonize gay people in an election year.
NOM’s leaders sometimes lie by saying that their contempt for gay human beings has nothing to do with religious-dogma-based, bullying non-acceptance of gay people, yet NOM just made an anti-gay-rights video with the brainwashed gay-bashing zombie for Jesus, Kirk Cameron. Meanwhile here, Regnerus, connected with an anti-gay-rights church said: ”I believe that if your faith matters, it should inform what you teach and what you research,” and here, from a Notre Dame interview held after Regnerus’s conversion into the anti-gay-rights Catholic Church, we read that: “Mark alluded to the fact that his academic interest in family formation trends and processes had arisen while still an evangelical and his recent entrance into the Catholic Church has shaped his own thinking about fertility and family life.”
To repeat for emphasis, while an anti-gay-rights evangelical, Regnerus said that his faith should inform what he researches, and then after he converted to Catholicism, he said that the anti-gay-rights Catholic Church has shaped his own thinking about fertility and family life. Then he did a study on family life with a study plan approved and funded by the leaders of NOM, a Catholic-headed anti-gay-rights organization, whose anti-gay-rights pledge is signed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who belongs to the anti-gay rights LDS/Mormon Church.
As previously reported, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s have signed a letter complaining of the Regnerus study’s lack of intellectual integrity.
Furthermore, the religious right, anti-gay-rights splinter group the American College of Pediatricians filed an amicus brief – relying very heavily on the invalid Regnerus study — in the Golinski DOMA case the day after the Regnerus study was published. One month later, an amicus brief refuting the anti-gay, Regnerus-study-based brief was filed in the Golinski case. That refutation of Regnerus and the ACP brief included the fact that Regnerus made no valid comparison between a test and a control group. It was jointly filed by The American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its California Chapter, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Make a mental note — and then consult that mental note while reading the rest of this article — that as regards the Regnerus study, there is NOM’s Maggie Gallagher championing it on one side, against all of those major medical and professional groups with hundreds of thousands of members on the other side, saying in a court brief that the Regnerus study is scientifically invalid.
Regnerus alleges that he intended to study child outcome differences between young adult children of heterosexual and homosexual parents. His published study, however, makes no such comparison, instead comparing young adult children of married heterosexual parents to those of divorced mixed-orientation parents. Regnerus’s comparison, thus, is not valid as sociology, because he made no valid comparison between his test and control groups. As Dr. Nathaniel Frank said, writing in the Los Angeles Times, Regnerus “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2012 Intelligence Report on NOM – though hardly exhaustive on the topic of NOM’s anti-gay lies — is titled: National Organization for Marriage Continues to Spread Lies About Gays.
NOM’s founder and mastermind Robert George also is a board member of the SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC). Gallagher has said that she “cherishes” working with that anti-gay hate group. Many of these anti-gay groups, once the SPLC certifies them as anti-gay hate groups, say that they consider it an “honor” to be certified as an anti-gay hate group.
Yet, promulgating known falsehoods about gay people is the crucial thing that gets groups certified as anti-gay hate groups.
In other words, Maggie Gallagher has said that she “cherishes” working with the FRC, which promulgates known falsehoods about gay people.
In evaluating the endless anti-gay lies that Gallagher is spreading around — and encouraging people to believe — apropos of the Regnerus study, it is essential to understand the connection between NOM and the Regnerus study funding. The funding so far disclosed for the study came from the anti-gay-rights Bradley Foundation, where NOM’s Robert P. George is a board member, and from the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute — (which receives financial support from the Bradley Foundation) — where NOM’s Robert George is a Senior Fellow. Moreover, Witherspoon president Luis Tellez is a NOM board member.
There is no daylight between NOM’s leaders and the funding of the Regnerus study, yet NOM’s Maggie Gallagher, in propagandizing about the study, never discloses her organization’s leaders’ connections to the study’s funding.
In the 2012 election year, that is very significant; Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has signed NOM’s anti-gay-rights pledge, and the take-away from the invalid Regnerus study is that “homosexuals are dangerous to children,” which is in line with NOM’s fraudulent conflation of homosexuals with pedophiles, as noted in the SPLC Intelligence Report on NOM. Gallagher herself is connected to the Witherspoon Institute; she has written anti-gay propaganda for it that aligns precisely with the anti-gay propaganda message contained in the invalid Regnerus study.
See here for Gallagher’s article Defend Marriage; Moms and Dads Matter. Among the things that Gallagher does not address in that article are 1) the fact that most if not all foster care children are in the foster care system because they were either abandoned or abused by heterosexual parents; 2) over the last 15 years, the total number of children in the foster care system has gone down dramatically, thanks largely to gay people adopting them; 3) because those children were abandoned and/or abused by heterosexual parents, the gay adoptive parents took on heightened parenting challenges yet mainly are having success with the children they rescued and now are raising in genuinely loving homes; and 4) Gallagher does not explain why she is so ferociously campaigning to keep those gay-headed families — with the adopted children of irresponsible heterosexual parents — stigmatized and legally disadvantaged as “lesser” only because the adoptive parents are gay or lesbian.
Gallagher is using an invalid, NOM-leader-funding-arranged study — (apparently conceived to demonize gay parents) — to seek to deny rights to good, loving gay parents who adopted the neglected and abused children of irresponsible heterosexuals.
During the Republican primaries, let us not forget, Gallagher supported the arch anti-gay bigot Rick Santorum, who said that a child would be better off with a heterosexual father in jail than with two loving gay fathers in the home.
NOM’s Maggie Gallagher Tells Lies About the NOM-Leaders-Funded Regnerus Study
A few examples will serve to illustrate Gallagher’s disinformation campaign surrounding the invalid Regnerus study:
Attempting to Fool the Public With Distracting and Irrelevant Comparisons Between Sociological Sampling Methods
One of the dirtiest tricks being used to promote the Regnerus study as “superior” to all others previously done on gay parenting involves the “sampling method” that Regnerus used.
“Sampling” refers to the means by which a sociologist reaches the target demographic of their study. One can learn about the pros and cons of all sampling methods — and they do all have their limitations — yet in the end, sampling method is irrelevant to the validity of a study, if the sociologist takes the gathered data and makes an invalid comparison between his test and control groups. NOM, Gallagher and Regnerus himself are trumpeting the supposed superiority of his sampling method to those used in prior studies on gay parenting, to distract attention from the fact that Regnerus failed to make a valid comparison between his test and control groups. In a first instance, Regnerus and his funders and other supporters are alleging that he used the best available sampling method, when in fact, he did not, as I explain here.
For comprehension purposes, Regnerus used a “probability sample” and says his study therefore automatically is superior to any prior gay parenting study that used a snowball sample or a convenience sample. What is crucial to understand, though, is that sampling method is irrelevant to the quality of a study if the study does not make a sociologically valid comparison between its test and control groups. To repeat for emphasis what Dr. Nathaniel Frank said: Regnerus “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”
NOM’s Maggie Gallagher, unsurprisingly, has been running riot in the media, misleadingly alleging that Regnerus’s probability-based sample automatically made his study superior to prior studies done on gay parenting. If Gallagher has been telling these kinds of lies about the published study in relation to all previous studies of gay parenting, in utter ignorance of the necessity for a valid comparison between a test and a control group, then she should step up now and admit that she did not realize that for a sociological study to be valid, it must make a valid comparison between its test and control groups. Don’t hold your breath.
Here she is at the National Review, regurgitating a propagandistic letter signed by 18 Regnerus supporters affiliated with the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. As if it were not bad enough that those Baylor Regnerus supporters did not disclose that Regnerus himself is affiliated with Baylor, they did not disclose that the Baylor ISR’s director Byron Johnson is a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, which funded Regnerus’s study and is promoting it in an anti-gay-rights political context. The excerpt from the Baylor letter that Gallagher posted attacks prior same sex parenting research for using convenience and snowball sampling, and then says: “By contrast, Regnerus relies on a large, random, and representative sample of more than 200 children raised by parents who have had same-sex relationships, comparing them to a random sample of more than 2,000 children raised in heterosexual families, to reach his conclusions.”
Do you see what they did there, and what Gallagher is presenting as legitimate talk about sociology? They boast of the “large, random and representative sample,” in contrast to previous smaller studies with convenience or snowball samples, but they do not tell you that it was wrong, and an invalid comparison — sociological malpractice — for Regnerus to compare young adult children of married heterosexual parents to those of divorced, mixed-orientation couples.
Regnerus’s excuse for having done that — as though there were any scientific justification for making a sociologically invalid comparison — is that he tried to find, but could not find, an adequate number of young adult children of stable same-sex couples. What he never mentions though, is why, if he could not find enough appropriate study subjects, he went ahead and made an invalid comparison.
One thing Regnerus might instead have done with his data, was to compare young adult children of divorced heterosexual parents, to those of divorced mixed-orientation couples. He still would not have known anything about children raised by gay couples, but at least he would have made a valid comparison between children of divorced heterosexual parents and those of divorced mixed-orientation parents.
It also must be noted that Regnerus has no credibility when he alleges that he hoped to find enough same-sex-headed families for his study, but in the end simply could not. Regnerus worked through the survey company Knowledge Networks. When a potential client comes to such a company, wanting to survey small niche populations, Knowledge Networks or any similar company will first have the client do a “pilot study” which will allow them to understand how many of the desired demographic they will be able reach and survey, if and when they go ahead with their full budget for surveying. When a potential client is hoping to survey a small minority population, Knowledge Networks does not want to take a lot of money from that client while promising to deliver something it is unsure of being able to deliver; the client would then talk ill of the company to others. And, the flip side of this “pilot study” aspect of the matter, is that given adequate additional money and time, Regnerus would have been able to survey enough young adult children raised by gay parents in the desired years, but of course, the study was commissioned as anti-gay-rights political propaganda and so had a deadline for pernicious exploitation in the 2012 elections.
As though it were not bad enough that 1) Gallagher’s propagandizing about Regnerus’s sampling methods ignores that 2) Regnerus made an invalid comparison and that therefore, 3) his study is invalid, Gallagher 4) points to the convenience and snowball sampling of previous studies on same-sex parenting attempting to 5) make those previous studies seem less valid than Regnerus’s. Gallagher is not only lying about Regnerus’s study being a valid study; she is lying about past studies not being good ones in comparison to Regnerus’s.
In truth, as long as researchers note in their written studies the limitations of convenience and snowball sampling, their studies can very well be valid. All else being equal, 1) valid probability-based studies are stronger than 2) valid snowball-based studies, but, 3) a valid snowball study conclusion is always scientifically valid, whereas 4) an invalid probability-based study conclusion always is invalid.
Gallagher’s deviousness regarding sampling method propaganda on Regnerus is especially on view here, where she wrote: “Eighteen social scientists have responded to the attempt to discredit Prof. Mark Regnerus;”
Gallagher there defines the accurate criticism of Regnerus’s not having made a valid comparison between his test and control groups as “the attempt to discredit Prof. Mark Regnerus,” and she does that while quoting and linking to a propaganda letter from Byron Johnson, Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, which funded Regnerus’s study, which propaganda letter then rehashes the sampling methods propaganda, without ever mentioning that Regnerus did not make a valid comparison between his test and control groups. That is to say, Gallagher maligns Regnerus’s critics as attempting to “discredit” him, while repeating the same distracting, irrelevant, accurately discredited arguments for which Regnerus’s critics are criticizing him. In defense of a lie, Gallagher repeated a lie. Just how far would she get with such behavior, under oath on a witness stand in a court of law?
It must be observed that both Regnerus and his funders are engaging in the same irrelevant statements about sampling methods, apparently to distract from the fact that Regnerus made no valid comparison between a test and a control group. They appear to have coordinated their propaganda campaign strategy for the study. It is not credible that Regnerus does not understand the necessity for a valid comparison between a test and a control group. It would really be quite something if, having never discussed the matter with each other, NOM/Witherspoon and, in complete isolation from NOM/Witherspoon, Regnerus each started jabbering about irrelevant sampling method propaganda while neglecting to talk about the importance of having a valid comparison between a test and a control group. That would be quite the coincidence!
As Regnerus’s UT colleague sociologist Debra Umberson says: “Regnerus’ study is bad science. Among other errors, he made egregious yet strategic decisions in selecting particular groups for comparison.”
NOM and Gallagher Appear to be Misrepresenting Their Relationship with Regnerus
In this National Review article, Gallagher alleges that “Professor Regnerus has been unusually open and transparent about how the study was conducted.” She further alleges that Regnerus did not intentionally design the study to fail, but that planned gay-headed families are “so rare that they barely turned up in the data.”
As far as Gallagher’s claim that Regnerus “did not intentionally design the study to fail,” the combination of 1) insufficient data collected from the demographic allegedly to be studied, combined with 2) the use of data collected from extraneous demographics to reach a scientifically invalid study conclusion about the alleged target demographic, certainly 3) suggests that the study plan was contrived to produce a pre-determined result convenient to NOM’s election year anti-gay-rights politicking.
In truth, furthermore, there has not been even minimal transparency in how Regnerus’s got his study plan approved and funded by NOM leaders.
According to the CV document on Regnerus’s own website, Regnerus received a $55,000 “planning grant” for his study from The Witherspoon Institute.
Planned gay-headed families from the period covered by Regnerus’s study, the 1970s – 1990s, existed, and exist, but the first question one would ask in attempting to survey them through probability sampling would be “How much money and time will it take for me to survey an adequate number of this minority population?”
There is no evidence, so far, that Witherspoon and Regnerus used the $55,000 “planning grant” to carry out a pilot study. A pilot study would have told them how much money and time they would need to spend, in order to survey an adequate number of young adult children of gay and/or lesbian parents. Had they done such a pilot study with their $55,000 “planning grant” money, they would not have gone ahead to fund the full study for $785,000, only to discover that they did not have adequate respondents from the target demographic. They either would have spent more money and time to survey the target demographic, or they would have concluded that it simply was not possible to carry out the intended study, given their funding and time limitations. And, however that might be, no reputable sociologist ever goes ahead and makes an invalid comparison between his test and control groups, if he turns out not to be able to adequately survey subjects for his test group, as happened with Regnerus.
Furthermore, having given Regnerus the $55,000 “planning grant,” the Witherspoon Institute had at least this much influence over the rest of the study; if it did not like Regnerus’s plan for the study, it was under no obligation to give him full study funding.
In order to understand exactly how Regnerus and The Witherspoon Institute together agreed to proceed with a study plan for full funding – and that is what happened, Regnerus and Witherspoon together agreed to proceed with a study plan using full funding — the public must see complete documentation of communications between Regnerus and Witherspoon regarding the study.
I first requested documentation for all communications about the study between Regnerus and Witherspoon from the University of Texas, which told me it was assembling that documentation and would have it to me shortly. When I did not receive the documentation, I inquired, and was told I would have to file a Public Information Act request for it. I did that; UT alleges that it is processing my request. However, Sofia Resnick of The American Independent interviewed me for her article on the anti-gay, religious-right fringe group The American College of Pediatric’s use of the Regnerus study in a DOMA-related court brief. Resnick told me that The American Independent made a FOIA request for documentation on the Regnerus study, but that UT told her they were withholding the documentation, because they have asked the Texas State Attorney General, Republican Greg Abbott, for authorization not to release the documentation.
Regnerus, Witherspoon and UT could jointly decide to release all communications regarding the study to the public — if they wanted to — in the interest of being, as Gallagher put it; “unusually open and transparent about how the study was conducted.” For this article, Gallagher was sent a specific request for that documentation, to which she did not respond.
Additionally, Witherspoon appears to be misrepresenting an aspect of the study on its stand-alone site devoted to it. On that site’s Q&A page, question number 12 asks why no liberal groups funded the Regnerus study. The response appears to be classic NOM-style trickery. It is worth reading the response and an analysis of the response, to understand the depths of misrepresentation, i.e. lying, to which NOM/Witherspoon are sinking in the Regnerus matter. Here is Witherspoon’s answer for why no liberal groups funded Regnerus’s study:
“the Witherspoon Institute approached four different funding sources that were known to be committed to gay rights and also to have an interest in the welfare of children. They were asked to be partners by providing financial support to fund a study (the NFSS) with the proviso that none of the funding sources would have any influence regarding the design, implementation, or interpretation of the data. They were told the study would be conducted at a major research university and that the team of scholars involved in the design of the study would be evenly represented across ideological lines. All four declined.”
That answer says that the four pro-gay-rights groups were told that “none of the funding sources would have any influence regarding the (study) design, implementation, or interpretation of the data.”
Right there, we have a glaring lie; “influence” over a study includes a broad range of possible means of influencing the study. Witherspoon obviously was free not to fund Regnerus’s full study if it did not like his study design; that is a major form of influence. Witherspoon is attempting to create an impression that four pro-gay-rights organizations fled from funding the study after being told they would have no influence over the study — though that is likely not the reasons such groups would decide not to fund this study — and simultaneously, Witherspoon is lying by saying that it had no influence whatsoever over the study plan.
Moreover, how is the public even to know whether Witherspoon really approached four pro-gay-rights groups who then declined to fund the Regnerus study? Why did they decline? Do they verify that Witherspoon told them what Witherspoon claims to have told them? I contacted The Witherspoon Institute and asked the identity of the four pro-gay-rights groups that Witherspoon allegedly approached. Witherspoon refused to provide that information. Witherspoon used the excuse that it does not disclose donor information, yet these four phantom gay-rights-groups did not donate to Witherspoon; they are not Witherspoon donors on the Regnerus study.
An e-mail was sent to Gallagher, asking her to come through with the identity of those four pro-gay-rights groups alleged to have been approached; Gallagher made no reply. She did, however, find time to take this lying pot-shot at me on The National Review. Gallagher there alleges that I say she has blood on her hand for opposing gay marriage. I have never said that. I do have a problem, however, with Gallagher’s NOM sponsoring anti-gay hate rallies where NOM speakers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are “worthy to death.” Moreover, as previously stated, Gallagher has often been sent offers to provide documentation showing that anything I have written about her is not factual; she has never furnished any such documentation. Our offer stands to publish corrections to any non-factual thing we may have published about her. Not to use the vernarcular, but (***crickets***).
In sum, Witherspoon is suspiciously impeding all fact-checking of its claims about four pro-gay-rights groups allegedly approached to help to fund the study. It is not credible that pro-gay-rights groups would not wish to communicate with the media regarding Witherspoon’s claims about them. Remember Gallagher’s misleading words: “Professor Regnerus has been unusually open and transparent about how the study was conducted.”
If as Gallagher is claiming, Regnerus did not “design the study to fail,” why are The Witherspoon Institute, Regnerus and UT withholding full documentation for how those parties agreed to the study plan, from their first communications about a possible study, through to the time that Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $55,000 “planning grant,” and then through to the time that Witherspoon approved Regnerus’s plan and his full study funding?
What are they hiding, if the study was not designed to fail? You have to remember that in Gallagher’s mind, twisted with bullying non-acceptance of gay people and contempt for their rights, Gallagher would consider a study planned to smear gay people a splendid success, if it wound up smearing gay people. Thus, when Gallagher says that Regnerus did not intentionally design the study to fail, she could within herself mean that he did not design it to fail NOM’s needs for it as political propaganda.
Gallagher Lies About Sources Making Allegedly Independent Assessments of Regnerus’s Study
Look at what Gallagher says in this National Review article: “Major family scholars such as Paul Amato . . . . affirm that this is an excellent study, indeed probably the best study we have to date on gay parenting.” Notice, Gallagher said “Major family scholars such as Paul Amato” without naming any other major family scholar. Notice too, that Gallagher did not disclose that Amato was a paid consultant on the Regnerus study. So the leaders of Gallagher’s anti-gay-rights organization got money to pay Amato to discuss the Regnerus study, and then Gallagher points to Amato as a “major family scholar” who affirms that this is “an excellent study, indeed probably the best study we have to date on gay parenting.”
Not only was Amato a paid consultant on the Regnerus study; he has no credentials in the specific field of gay parenting, yet the journal Social Science Research, which published Regnerus’s study, published an Amato commentary on the study. What happened? Had editor James Wright exhausted the list of gay parenting experts, found that none were available to write a commentary, and so felt himself obliged to go with Amato for a commentary, notwithstanding that Amato was a paid consultant on the study?
That dubious move, by the way, is one of the reasons that science publisher Elsevier is referring Social Science Research’s publication of the Regnerus study to the Committee on Publication Ethics for review. Gallagher ends that same National Review article linking to another page by saying: “For access to the studies and to the “comments” by (sic) significant outside scholar, go here.” Again she is calling Paul Amato a “significant outside scholar” as though he had not been paid to consult on the Regnerus study and as though he had credentials in the field of gay parenting.
In a future article, I will explain why I disapprove of Dr. Amato’s involvement in the Regnerus study. However, we simply must not ignore, that when Gallagher alleges that Amato “affirms” that Regnerus produced an “excellent” study, she is being misleading about Amato’s most important take-away. Look at what Amato wrote in his commentary on the study: “It would be unfortunate if the findings from the Regnerus study were used to undermine the social progress that has been made in recent decades in protecting the rights of gays, lesbians, and their children.”
Cherry-picking your quotes, Mrs. Srivastav? When are you going to point out in a National Review article about the Regnerus study that Dr. Paul Amato said: “It would be unfortunate if the findings from the Regnerus study were used to undermine the social progress that has been made in recent decades in protecting the rights of gays, lesbians, and their children.”?
When? We are waiting.
I could write up at least one dozen more Regnerus-study-related lies from Gallagher, but why bother? As I have noted before, NOM’s Maggie Gallagher is characterized by her enthusiasm for lying through her teeth while talking out both sides of her gay-bashing bigot mouth. Gallagher has even lied about gay parents under oath at a congressional hearing. As EqualityMatters put it: “Gallagher’s testimony relies on studies that have nothing to do with same-sex parenting.” Just like the NOM-leaders-commissioned Regnerus “study,” on “gay” parents, n’est-ce pas?
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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