CitizenLink’s Lack of Transparency

Jim Burroway

March 14th, 2008

Update: I’ve changed the title of this post based on Glenn Stanton’s explanation.

Last week, we reported on Focus On the Family’s Glenn Stanton’s Citizenlink article in which he claimed that “anthropologists agree” that there is only one definition of what constitutes marriage and family. That article, when it first appeared on March 3, looked like this:

Anthropologists Agree on Traditional Definition of Marriage

‘A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female.’

There are two definitions of marriage in today’s culture — one of them has been around for centuries; the other is brand new.

Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said there’s a clear consensus among anthropologists.

“A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female,” he said. “Those two parts of humanity join together, create new life and they both cooperate in the legitimization of the child, if you will, and the development of the child.”

Maggie Gallagher, co-founder and president of the National Organization for Marriage, said gay activists want to change the definition of marriage because they say the traditional definition is irrational and bigoted.

“What does that mean down the road, if the idea that our ideas about marriage and about sexual morality generally make us the exact equivalent of bigots?” she asked.

“You can’t have a professional license in this country — you can’t be a physician, a social worker, a teacher, a lawyer, a psychotherapist, a marriage counselor — if you’re openly racist.”

That article prompted three sharp rebukes from real anthropologists, including the American Anthropological Association itself. Now it looks like Glenn Stanton has responded by re-writing the article and giving it a new title. This is how that same article appears now:

Classic Anthropology at Odds with New Same-Sex Definitions of Marriage and Family

‘A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female.’

There are two understandings of marriage in today’s culture — one of them has been around for centuries; the other is brand new.

According to a new research report, Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said, “if you look at the work of leading anthropologists through the past century, one is struck by the consistent understanding of marriage and family as a social unit that brings together male and female. The comparison between this diverse and learned understanding with the paper-thin, ahistorical and acultural definitions offered by leading same-sex proponents is stark. The former show great understanding and complexity, while the latter shows immense creativity.”

Stanton cited anthropologist Suzanne Frayser’s definition of marriage in her 1985 book, Varieties of Sexual Experience :

“Marriage is a relationship within which a group socially approves and encourages sexual intercourse and the birth of children… Marriage is not usually a transaction confined to the bride and groom. It extends beyond them, to include members of their own families or kin group.”

Stanton also cited same-sex “marriage” activist Evan Wolfson’s definition:

“Marriage is what we use to describe a specific relationship of love and dedication to another person.”

“The ways leading anthropologists and the brightest same-sex marriage advocates define marriage are breathtaking.” Stanton said. “This comparison should show us that the gay ‘marriage’ experiment is exactly that, without any rootedness in human experience.”

This new article retains its original publication date and URL, leading the casual reader to believe that this is how the article originally appeared. There is no notice anywhere that there were ever any changes or corrections. CitizenLink has often tried to portray themselves as “professional journalists” without actually behaving as professionals or as journalists.

When Box Turtle Bulletin makes a correction or an update, you’ll know it. There will be strikeouts, apologies, explanations, maybe even a poor excuse here or there. But regardless of the circumstances, we have nothing to hide. I believe that this level of transparency is indispensable to the task of keeping ourselves honest. Unlike CitizenLink, we don’t try to promote the delusion of infallibility. When we need to revise something, we make sure we do it in a way that everyone can know about it. That is what ethical discourse is all about.

CitizenLink however operates under their own set of rules. Their lack of transparency is more evidence that as far as Focus is concerned, the message is more important than honesty or the truth.


March 14th, 2008

Very interesting. When I last looked they had changed the content but not the title.

Jim Burroway

March 14th, 2008

I noticed that as well. Now the title is different. It’s a constantly moving target. Yes, very professional…


March 14th, 2008


Thanks for following up on this.

I didn’t think my memory of the original article was “that” faulty. ;)

Dave Rattigan

March 14th, 2008

This is astounding. Citizenlink has blatantly distorted the meaning of the original article, which was presented as a report of what Stanton was actually claiming.

And to think the site defends itself as an example of professional journalism.

Bene Diction

March 15th, 2008

What about sending researchers to:

The site was set up because Fotf tends to co-opt legitimate science for political goals.

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