I Spoke to NOM Today!

Rob Tisinai

March 21st, 2013

The National Organization for Marriage has been spreading a host of falsehoods about research into same-sex parenting. Every so I often I lob a tweet about this to Thomas Peters, NOM’s Communications Director. He never replies, which is a shame, because I’ve always wanted to know what he’d say when confronted with these blatant…inaccuracies.

And now I know. [Spoiler alert: He doesn’t say, “Oh, we’re awful, and I’ll fix it right away!’]

It began this morning when reader/warrior StraightGrandmother directed me to Maggie Gallagher in the National Review:

There are at least four reviews or studies in peer-reviewed literature that contest the claim that children do equally well with same-sex parents. (Regnerus, Marks, Sirota, Allen). None of which are mentioned by the American Academy of Pediatricians in their endorsement of gay marriage. They cannot cite a single scientific study in a peer-reviewed journal showing children with gay parents are better off if their parents are considered legally married. None of this matters. How serious are we about children’s well-being in this country?

Then I found this new press release on NOM’s website:

One recent large-scale random sample study that has been produced by University of Texas researchers found that those raised in a same-sex household fared worse than those raised in intact heterosexual families on two-thirds of outcomes measured. Nowhere in the AAP statement do they address the confounding scientific evidence by Regnerus, Marks, Sirota and Allen — all published in peer-reviewed journals. The AAP simply ignores them.

I know a bit about Regnerus and Sirota. Their studies tell us nothing about same-sex parenting. I called the phone number on the press release and spoke to a very nice press rep. She told me I should talk to Thomas Peters and gave me the number to his office. And I was all, Goody!

Well, Thomas was reluctant from the start: I’m not  a journalist, he doesn’t do impromptu interviews, and I should direct my questions to their press reps. I said a press rep had directed me to him. He hesitantly agreed to a conversation and asked whether I were recording it (no) and whether I were okay with him recording it (of course!).

I referred him to the press release quote above and asked if he were aware that the Sirota study did not look at same-sex parents. He slowly said no (I believe him) and asked what it did look at. I told him Sirota compared kids raised by straight dads with those raised by gay dads, but in both cases the dads were married to the mothers, so the study was really about opposite-sex parenting.

He told me he didn’t write the press release.

When I told him Regnerus hadn’t specified any results for kids raised by same-sex parents, he quickly agreed (that’s why I believed him about Sirota) and accurately characterized the study as looking at kids with a parent who’d had a same-sex relationship. I told him that NOM’s Rhode Island branch wasn’t describing it that way — they were falsely attributing these results to kids raised by lesbian couples.

At this point NOM’s Communications Officer told me if I had a problem with what NOM Rhode Island was saying I should talk to NOM Rhode Island.

(This was actually a screw-up on my part: I didn’t need to bring up NOM-RI. This falsehood was promulgated in the press release above!)

I pressed Thomas on the content of these studies and he fell back to affirming NOM’s broader point that the AAP had simply ignored other research when they issued their politically-motivated endorsement. That sent me back into the details of studies and he fell back to affirming NOM’s other broader point that there isn’t a lot of good research on the topic at all and I wondered whether that meant he was saying these studies supposedly against same-sex marriage weren’t good, either, and he said this was turning into more of a lecture than an interview, on which point he was probably correct, and he firmly and emphatically but not impolitely ended the call.


So now I know what Thomas Peters will do when confronted with NOM’s falsehoods: He’ll act like facts don’t matter.

He won’t dispute the facts. He won’t admit NOM has the facts wrong. He won’t take responsibility for how the facts are communicated. Instead he’ll evade. He’ll change the subject. He’ll strategically retreat to discussing NOM’s broader points in order to avoid getting mired in the tiny points. Like facts.

Now, remember, I didn’t record the call, so I’m recounting this from memory. And I’m editorializing (just a bit?). But that, of course, is why Thomas records this sort of call. And if Thomas would like to release the entire, unedited audio of the conversation, I hereby grant him permission.

Somebody please let me know if he does.

Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2013

Actually, the press release is even wronger. It claims that the AAP ignored the Regnerus Study. IT DIDN’T!!! — It examined it and found it wanting.


Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2013

Actually, to be precise, the Regnerus Study was examined in the accompanying Technical Report, which per AAP’s longstanding practice, was released alongside the policy statement. The Technical Report also acknowledged and answered the Marks paper (which, technically, wasn’t a study, but a review.)


March 21st, 2013

Thomas Peters is by far the biggest idiot they have working at NOM. His ridiculous tweets make one’s brain hurt.

Like when he just lamented that the media never explains why same-sex marriage is better than opposite-sex marriage. Is if that’s the point. Just another of his usual strawmen.


March 22nd, 2013

Ah, facts. Such inconvenient little things they can be…


March 22nd, 2013

The AAP didn’t mention those studies because they aren’t valid studies. It’s that simple. (I’m reminded of the sociologist who commented on the Regnerus study that she would be hesitant to use it to draw conclusions about anything.)


March 22nd, 2013

Thanks Jim for that reminder that the AAP examined the Regnerus study.
But WOW! Rob!!!

Think about it for a minute, “Mister Communcations Director” hadn’t even read the studies. I guarantee you one thing Maggie Gallagher read the studies and she continues to misrepresent them.

The only thing that if you didn’t do, and still can do Rob, is if you could have gotten Thomas Peters e-mail from him and followed up by sending him a clarify (the studies) e-mail.

I think this article is very enlightening as it exemplifies Thomas Peters all fluff and no stuff. That he just has talking points that he just repeats and repeats and repeats with no real knowledge at all.

Now today Regnerus posts in “The Corner” at the national review. “The Corner” is the same spot Maggie Gallagher used to blog from. I thought she quit blogging over there and was only going to blog on her website, but yesterday we saw her article, now today we see Regnerus’s article.

Folks, MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, THEY ARE COMING AFTER OUR CHILDREN. (Insert video of a grizzly bear roaring) I will do everything in my (legal) power to PROTECT -OUR- CHILDREN.

I am so proud of ALL the gay bloggers who keep writing about this. Because the truth is, until the Regnerus Paper is retracted, every single legal brief and Professional Health and Mental Health Association is going to have to deal with this Regnerus Paper. We need RETRACTION, and we NEED IT NOW.


March 22nd, 2013

Link to Regnerus article at National Review.


Richard Rush

March 22nd, 2013

Apparently, I haven’t been paying attention. I just became aware that Thomas Peters’ father is a Vatican legal adviser with the rarefied designation, Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura, shared by eleven others. Just saying.



March 22nd, 2013

Douglas W. Allen:

The other one that is unmentioned is Loren Marks:

just get Sirota and Regnerus in the original post.


March 22nd, 2013

The one from Loren Marks is a meta-study that was released as a companion piece to the Regnerus hit job. It’s just as fake.


March 22nd, 2013

The Marks paper is simply a literature review. The American Sociological Association (Regnerus is a member)
The American Academy of Pediatrics,
The American Medical Association

and many many others have done this same literature review. They come to different conclusions than Marks.

Priya Lynn

March 22nd, 2013

Rob, you’ve provided a link to the BTB rebuttals of the “studies” done by Regnerus and Sirota, could you please also provide us links to the BTB rebuttals of Marks and Allen?

I tried to search for them but when the links appeared and I clicked on them it took me to unrelated pages instead.


March 22nd, 2013

In this TV debate, Peters declares (at about the 8:45 mark) that marriage has been an ongoing experiment, totally at odds with the usual “marriage is of an eternal design” claim.

Of course, if you watch the footage, you’ll see that he’s trying to wiggle out of Peter Tatchell’s observation countering another guests attempt to assert this “traditional” line. So we now learn from Peters that the so called tradition of marriage entails experiments that failed and how the modern version is the achievement of some sort of “end of history” institutional perfection.

I don’t know where we are with NOM. Modern, traditional, traditional, modern; let’s call the whole thing off. It’s all just so much slippery rhetoric from them. Dogma and casuistry; how very Catholic Church.

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