Focus On The Family Misrepresents Studies To Oppose Colorado Civil Unions

Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery is once again making false claims about harm to children in an effort to oppose legal recognition of same-sex couples. In an op-ed for the Denver Post, he attacked legislation to create civil unions in Colorado, suggesting children will learn about “sexuality” and grow up in “intentionally motherless or fatherless” homes:

But the impact goes much further as it jeopardizes the rights of parents to have a say in what’s taught to their children in school — even as young as kindergarten — about sexuality and marriage. It endangers business owners who are sued for not photographing or renting facilities for same-sex ceremonies. Mostly, it impacts children who deserve every chance to be raised in a home with their own married mom and dad rather than the intentionally motherless or fatherless home created by same-sex unions.[…]

But we also join those whose voices are seldom heard, those of the children. As we have seen in California, the passage of civil union legislation will eventually threaten marriage. And if we say that marriage no longer means one mom and one dad, then we have denied children at least a chance to live in that special environment that gives them the best opportunity for success in life.

Conservative groups like FOTF use these two arguments often, but neither carries any significant weight. The first is that children might learn that gay people exist! Of course, plenty of schools now have same-sex families in their districts, so trying to argue that children shouldn’t learn about the existence of same-sex couples is tantamount to erasing some of their parents from the learning environment. Acknowledging some children’s parents is not a threat other children’s parents.

As for kids who may be “fatherless” or “motherless,” this argument is a common distortion of studies about single parents that rests entirely on archaic gender stereotypes. Studies show that the only unique obstacle faced by children of same-sex couples is anti-gay bullying that targets their families — prompted, of course, by the conservative groups trying to ostracize them.

It should come as no surprise that Minnery is blatantly lying about the impact of civil unions. He is the same Focus on the Family spokesperson who Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) eviscerated for his misrepresentation of similar studies during a Senate hearing on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act last July. Watch that moment again: