Cameronesque Award: Family “Research” Council’s “Slippery Slope” Brochure
July 21st, 2008
The Family “Research” Council is at it again, doing what they do best. Their brochure, “The Slippery Slope of Same-Sex ‘Marriage’,” which the FRC is touting in a recent action alert in their battle against same-sex marriage in California, is a prime example of the sort of “research” the FRC is all about.
It’s a lengthy brochure and it would take days to research the whole thing, but its entire premise is build on three specific claims. The first two are:
Relationship duration: While a high percentage of married couples remain married for up to 20 years or longer, with many remaining wedded for life, the vast majority of homosexual relationships are short-lived and transitory. This has nothing to do with alleged “societal oppression.” A study in the Netherlands, a gay-tolerant nation that has legalized homosexual marriage, found the average duration of a homosexual relationship to be one and a half years.
Monogamy versus promiscuity: Studies indicate that while three-quarters or more of married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples typically engage in a shocking degree of promiscuity. The same Dutch study found that “committed” homosexual couples have an average of eight sexual partners (outside of the relationship) per year.
Both of those claims come from the same so-called “Dutch study,” published in 2003 bt Maria Xiridou and her colleagues in the journal AIDS. We’ve already published a full analysis of that report, but here’s the Cliff Notes version:
- This study was not about gay relationships, as most people who misuse this study claims. Its purpose was to study how HIV is transmitted in the Dutch population. That’s why the study was based only on those with HIV/AIDS attending STD clinics. It is no more generalizable to the general LGBT population than heterosexuals with STD’s are representative of straight people overall.
- This study excluded everyone over thirty — the prime age in which people are more likely to settle down and marry.
- “Relationships” weren’t defined. Anything including a second date to a lifetime commitment could be counted. You simply cannot compare that to straight couples who are married as the FRC does.
- FRC cites the study as taking place in a country with “legalized homosexual marriage”, but the Netherlands didn’t have anything like it when the study ended in 1998. Registered partnerships for same-sex and opposite-sex couples didn’t begin until October 1, 1999. A limited form of same-sex marriage wasn’t available until 2001.
- And this is the most important point of all: Because the purpose of the study was to look at how AIDS is transmitted, all monogamous couples were specifically excluded from the study. Because monogamous couples aren’t transmitting HIV, they would have been completely irrelevant to the study’s goals.
And what happens when you exclude all monogamous people from the study? It turns out that when people say they’re not monogamous, they tend to sleep around. But it has absolutely nothing to do with those who are monogamous, or the broader population generally.
This misused study is one of the FRC’s favorites. At the end of our “Dutch Study” report, we maintain a list of those who misuse this study, and the FRC are repeat offenders — including in two amicus briefs that we know of before the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of New Jersey. If the FRC has no fear of lying to the courts, then they certainly aren’t ashamed of lying to the public.
The third point the brochure is built on is this:
Intimate partner violence: homosexual and lesbian couples experience by far the highest levels of intimate partner violence compared with married couples as well as cohabiting heterosexual couples. Lesbians, for example, suffer a much higher level of violence than do married women
They base this claim on the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Violence Against Women Survey (PDF: 62 pages/1,475 KB) If you want to see how they construct this particular distortion, I encourage you to download the report yourself and we’ll go through it step by step. Believe me, it’s worth it because this is a classic example.
On page 29, you will find that when you only look at victims with a history of same-sex cohabitation and compare them with those with a history of opposite-sex cohabitation, then it’s true, gays and lesbians experience higher levels of intimate parter violence. But that’s not true for gay and lesbian couples.
To see this, go to the next page. Among women with a history of same-sex partnership:
- 30.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband/male partner
- 11.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their wife/female partner.
And among men with a history of same-sex partnership:
- 10.8% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their wife/female partner.
- 15.4% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their husband/male partner.
So here is what it all means. Many women with a history of same-sex partnership also have a history of opposite-sex partnership. Because of that, they are far more likely to report being raped, assaulted or stalked because it is the men in their lives who are doing the raping, assaulting or stalking, not the women. Same-sex cohabiting women were nearly three times more likely to report being victimized by a male partner than a female partner.
And here is where the statistic gets really interesting: 20.5% of women in opposite sex relationships were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband or male partner. That compares to 15.4% of men who were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their male partners. In other words, gay men are safer around their same-sex partners than straight women are around their husbands or opposite-sex partner.
But if course the Family “Research” Council didn’t want you to know the full story. That’s what makes their “research” so Cameronesque, and it’s why they are such deserving recipients of our latest award.