"It’s Like They’re Allergic to the Truth:" Focus on the Family Answers Soulforce Criticism by Taking More Research Out of Context

Day three of march continues from Colorado state capitol to Focus on the Family headquarters

For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193

(DENVER, CO) — Responding to comments from NYU sociologist Dr. Judith Stacey that Focus on the Family had twisted her research about the children of same-sex parents to justify anti-gay discrimination, Focus on the Family twisted the conclusions of another researcher. In an Associated Press report published on Tuesday in newspapers across the nation, Focus on the Family spokesperson and Bush administration advisor Glenn T. Stanton cited an article by Mary Parke from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) which he said shows that children need a mother and a father.

Parke’s article, "Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? What Research Says About the Effects of Family Structure on Child Well-Being," was published in 2003, and consolidates social science research comparing the outcomes of children raised by married biological parents with children raised by single or divorced parents and step parents. The article does not compare children raised by committed same-sex couples to children raised by committed heterosexual couples. The use of studies on the children of divorced or single parents to justify the claim that children fare better with heterosexual parents was the chief criticism Dr. Stacey leveled against Focus on the Family. Parke no longer works with CLASP and was not available for comment.

"They’re sticking to their game plan," said Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce, "They have Judith Stacey on record as saying their references to her work don’t match the conclusions of her research so they just move on down the line and misquote another researcher." Lutes continued, "It’s like they’re allergic to the truth on this issue."

Lutes also objected to Stanton’s claim that "We have not said anything about sexual orientation" (suggesting that Focus on the Family had not made any claims about fitness for parenting based on a parent’s sexual orientation). Lutes has documented dozens of published instances in which Focus on the Family has claimed that gay and lesbian people are harmful to children, or attempting to destroy the American family. (www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family) "Focus on the Family says that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are sick and sinful, a danger to children and a threat to the American family. They have dressed their bigotry up in the language of faith and social science to make it more palatable. It’s time for them to stop because they are hurting our families."

The 1000 Watt March from the Colorado state capitol to Focus on the Family headquarters continued today, with the marchers braving temperatures that neared 100 degrees.

Among the marchers were Ken Lewis and Jamieson Allen and their four sons, including a set of triplets. As they set up a large, three-seat stroller with a canopy so the three year-old triplets could ride in style, Lewis said they were marching to Focus on the Family because religious issues were of growing importance in American society. "It’s important for us to march because it’s important for our kids. It’s important to tell the truth." Allen added, "Religion is about love not hate." Clearly a family that buys in bulk, Lewis and Allen pulled out an entire bunch of bananas and distributed them to their children before setting off along the road.

Laurin Foxworth and Lewis Thompson said their relationship was arranged by a higher power. After their initial meeting the two exchanged letters for seven years. Their correspondence had dwindled when they met again at a "Gay and Gray" conference and knew they were meant for each other. Foxworth, who is 80, and Thompson, who is 60, hammed in front of a documentary camera before their leg of the march began. Asked if they were ready for the harsh temperatures, the senior member of the couple made a muscle and said in a fractured accent, "We are strong like bulls." Asked why they were marching, Foxworth responded, "We’re marching because nothing feels as empowering after a lifetime in the closet."

This Saturday July 22 at 6 PM, actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The crowd will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. At 8:30 PM Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream. The entire community – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families, friends and supporters, are invited to the final march and concert.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.

Soulforce’s purpose is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.

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