Friday, June 15, 2012

Politically useful research

Here is even more about that study that misused data to show gay and lesbian couples make bad parents. Jim Burroway (the one who first scrutinized the study) noted that data collection for the study ended in February 2012 (with, admittedly, insufficient data), yet the paper was written and submitted to the research paper by February 1, 2012. That's mighty fast data analysis and typing (an perhaps even written before all the data was available). The paper appeared to get a rush job through the review process (though there is debate on that). Then it seems the paper was hidden until it could be introduced with a big splash (by the conservative Mormon Deseret News).

Burroway wonders: Why?

There are two kinds of events coming up this year where such a paper would be useful.

First, a marriage protection amendment will be on the ballot in Minnesota. The question to approve marriage equality will be on the ballot in Washington, Maine, and probably Maryland. A study that "proves" gays and lesbians are bad parents would be great (for our opponents) to wave in front of voters.

Second, the Supremes will be getting at least one gay marriage case. Four federal courts have struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and those cases are on their way to the Supremes. The Calif. marriage equality case is likely also on its way. Our opponents will gladly include this study in their filings before the Court.

Three-quarter million dollars were spent to create this study. Burroway says:
Which goes to show that money doesn’t buy good research, but it does buy politically useful research just when you need it.
Straight Grandmother gave a big thank you to Burroway on the promptness and thoroughness of his analysis of the paper last weekend. Because of that the mainstream press is siding with us. They recognize that the research is really about the damage a mixed orientation marriage does to kids.

Shortly after this flawed study appeared the American Psychological Association released a statement affirming gay and lesbian parents do as well as straight parents. They based this on "a remarkably consistent body of research."

Speaking of votes on marriage equality, Mike Baker of the Associated Press gives five reasons why our opponent's winning streak is about to end. Yeah, they've gone 32 for 32, but shouldn't count on getting all four states with votes this November. His reasons:

1. Washington voted on an "everything but marriage" law three years ago and it won.

2. Six GOP lawmakers in Washington approved the new law and the GOP candidate for attorney general declared support. Lawmakers say attitudes in even the conservative parts of the state have changed for the better.

3. Polls in Washington show 54% of likely voters want marriage equality. Yeah, the polls in Calif. showed nearly the same thing and we know how that turned out. But polls nationwide also show opinions are turning in our favor.

4. Though Maine voters rejected marriage equality three years ago the prospects look different now, especially since most of the rest of New England already has marriage equality. The GOP in Hew Hampshire decided against undoing their law.

5. Obama has declared he supports marriage equality (and his approval rating is still above 50% in Washington).

There is one wrinkle in the campaign in Washington. Up to this vote if you are in favor of marriage equality the proper vote was no. This time the proper vote is yes. Some people assume that since the anti-gay side put the question on the ballot another no vote is appropriate.

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