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James Dobson Slammed for Distorting Facts on Gay Families in Time Magazine

Friday Dec 15, 2006
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New York University educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD, today slammed Focus on the Family leader, James C. Dobson, for "twisting" and "distorting" her research in a guest column he wrote in Time Magazine. Gilligan says Dobson misrepresented her work in an effort to smear gay families while discussing Mary Cheney’s pregnancy. In a pointed letter to Dobson, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.

"Dobson’s group is a fib factory that should change its name to Focus on the Fallacies," said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. "This organization habitually lies and shamelessly mangles research to support its anti-gay agenda. Time Magazine should immediately withdrawal Dobson’s column because it is so riddled with scientific errors that it is essentially fiction."

In a letter to Dobson, obtained exclusively by Truth Wins Out after the group contacted Gilligan and informed her of the Time article, Gilligan expressed her dismay and demanded that the right wing leader apologize. In the letter, Gillagan said:

"I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work."

"From what I understand, this is not the first time you have manipulated research in pursuit of your goals. This practice is not in the best interest of scientific inquiry, nor does bearing false witness serve your purpose of furthering morality and strengthening the family."

"Finally, there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can’t raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households."

"I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family," Gillagan said in closing.

"No reputable media outlet should continue using Focus on the Family as a resource because they are chronically dishonest and lack credibility," said Besen. "James Dobson should start to wonder if there is something inherently wrong with his stance on gay issues if the only way he can support his positions is outright lying."

Gay rights group Soulforce has launched an online petition asking the editors of Time magazine to check James Dobson’s facts about lesbian and gay parenting.

In spite of Dobson’s reputation as a benevolent family therapist, his views on lesbian and gay parenting do not reflect the mainstream of American professional organizations concerned with researching and promoting children’s wellbeing, Soulforce said in a statement.

In a 2004 policy statement, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reported "no evidence that same-sex couples or family units vary significantly from heterosexual couples or family units in terms of aspirations, hopes and goals, or in outcomes for children."

In response to Dobson’s editorial, Soulforce contacted Dr. Christopher R. Martell, President of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues. According to Dr. Martell:

"Over and again the data show that a loving and safe home environment is important, not the gender of the parents. The mainstream research is so clear on this matter that the American Psychological Association’s resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children, which was adopted by the APA Council of Representatives in July, 2004, states: the APA supports the protection of parent-child relationships through the legalization of joint adoptions and second parent adoptions of children being reared by same-sex couples."

The American Psychological Association, one of the worldss largest mental health organizations, would not have supported the protection of legalized adoption by gay and lesbian parents if the data had suggested that children were at risk in such households.

Time, Soulforce points out, has a past history of excellent coverage of LGBT issues.

"In recent years, the magazine has been nominated multiple times for GLAAD media awards," said Paige Schilt, the media director at Soulforce.

"We applaud Time’s past coverage. With this petition we are asking the editors to continue this tradition by checking Dobson’s facts on lesbian and gay parenthood.

"Soulforce and other organizations have repeatedly documented Dobson’s misleading statements about the research on LGBT families. In the interest of journalistic integrity, publications such as Time must contextualize his statements with evidence from credible, peer-reviewed research."

The online petition can be found at www.soulforce.org/petition/2.

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