More on Doctors for the Family and their ‘evidence’

Last night I revealed that ‘Doctors for the Family’ were not simply an organisation of health professionals with valid health concerns about same-sex marriage, but rather a religious lobby group who used their qualifications to obscure their real agenda.

That knowledge still, apparently, hasn’t made it to the mainstream media – nor have they bothered to check the sources cited in the letter submitted by the group to the Senate marriage equality enquiry. Now, we can understand that the Herald-Sun might not be too interested in looking closely; it was originally their story, after all. (And readers might be interested to check out the redacted version, which now includes quotes from the AMA and Australian Marriage Equality – described by reporter Brigid O’Connell as ‘gay rights’ activists’. It also includes quotes from Dr Lachlan Dunjeny, though strangely, fails to mention his other crusades.)

But what’s the excuse for no one else doing a bit of elementary research? This isn’t simply some obscure Senate paper; it was splashed all over the media yesterday, becoming the lead story for some news providers. Extraordinary claims were published and re-published, and never challenged.

The story is out now that there is a religious agenda driving Doctors for the Family. But what about the apparently authoritative sources they use to back up their arguments that same-sex marriage (specifically, marriage between two men, which seems to be their major preoccupation)? Who are they?

Let’s take a look.

The major study cited looks, on the face of things, to be above reproach. It was completed by the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney, and only last year. Looks pretty damning. But wait.

The study was commissioned by our old friends the Australian Christian Lobby, and ‘made possible by a generous grant from the Vos Foundation’. It also thanks someone named Antoine Kazzi.

The Vos Foundation are an interesting group. Primarily, they’re land developers – one of those stories where a family business grows from humble beginnings to become incredibly successful. Some of that success finds its way into what they describe as a ‘philanthropy vehicle’. Just so that everyone’s clear on what kind of philanthropy, the Foundation helpfully provides information on their values – and right up front is a profession of faith, followed by ‘family and marriage relationships’.

Antoine Kazzi, whose research was so invaluable, works for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney – specifically, their Life, Marriage and Family Centre.

The study also thanks Focus on the Family Canada, a multi-national group well-known for their opposition to same-sex relationships and marriage equality. The acknowledgements wind up with statements of gratitude to several people for reading and comments – including Lyle Shelton and Paul O’Rourke from the ACL.

These are clearly partisan individuals and organisations, with a massive agenda to push. Any credible academic study should seek data which is as neutral as possible – or at the very least, balance the contributions with data or statements from opposing views.

The ‘evidence’ on which it relies is sketchy, its bias clear, and its original premise is shaky. It’s the kind of study that would earn an undergraduate student a verbal spanking and a low grade – and it’s certainly not of the standard expected by learned and lauded Professors.

And the unsurprising conclusion? Everything – everything that is wrong with our kids today stems from their not being raised in a two-parent heterosexual marriage environment.

This study is the equivalent of those ‘scientific research papers’ that used to say that smoking cigarettes was not only harmless, but might actually benefit us – you know, the ones that were commissioned and underwritten by tobacco companies. It’s questionable at best, worthless at worst.

Of all the sources cited in Doctors for the Family’s letter, this one is the most credible. The rest are either statistics taken out of context and twisted to serve the agenda, or partisan articles from international groups pushing the same religious agenda – notoriously, the hate-group Mass Resistance. That group is particularly vicious – reading their diatribes against same-sex attracted and transgender people is actually sickening. The Southern Poverty Law Center details some of their more revolting actions, including attempts to criminalise male-male sex as a form of ‘bestiality’ and to plant false allegations that ‘normalising homosexuality’ had led to skyrocketing levels of domestic violence.

And these are the groups on which Doctors for the Family based their submission to the Senate. These are the arguments that the lobby group attempted to give a veneer of respectability through using their professions to obscure their true purpose. And – most importantly – these are the groups that are easily exposed, and who have not been investigated even after the letter was made public.

Part of the media’s job is to challenge those sorts of assertions, so that those of us who work in other sectors can learn the facts behind them. It’s not enough to simply reprint part of a media release and get a comment from the most easily identified opponent to someone’s views. You need to investigate.

The letter from Doctors for the Family is going to the Senate. It will form part of a raft of submissions to an enquiry whose recommendations could have serious ramifications for thousands of Australians, their families and friends.

So-called ‘health organisations’ that cite partisan studies and rely on propaganda from hate-groups should be exposed for what they are, and that knowledge should be shared as widely as possible. The Senate should know what they’re getting.

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19 Responses to More on Doctors for the Family and their ‘evidence’

  1. Gavin says:

    There is no such concept as marriage equality according to your definition of it. Stop trying to force the world to accept your ‘choice’ as being a right when it simply isn’t by any definition of constructive to society.

  2. […] disgusting. Doctors for the Family’s submission to the Senate enquiry into the bills used dodgy studies to suggest that same-sex marriage would put children at risk of AIDS. Perhaps worst of all, some […]

  3. Gavin says:

    All I see here is hate, which highlights your fear of what has been, and always will be the truth of the matter. Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s just that simple.

  4. Paul Mischefski says:

    As someone who has been a career journalist for over 30 years, I can’t agree more with the statement below from the article above:

    “Part of the media’s job is to challenge those sorts of assertions, so that those of us who work in other sectors can learn the facts behind them. It’s not enough to simply reprint part of a media release and get a comment from the most easily identified opponent to someone’s views. You need to investigate.”

    Our modern media is rife with “churnalism”, young journalists with little broader life experience or ability to investigate who simply and trustingly churn out stories that have been handed to them via press releases with a few legitimate-sounding names and credentials attached.

    The way stories are written are often far more influenced with the journalist’s own mindset and belief system than they ever used to be.

    It is a lazy and unprofessional approach that can create distorted public perceptions, inaccurate “common knowledge”, urban myths and misinformed politicians also too lazy to do their own investigation and more concerned with appeasing a voting public.

    Much of the modern media is battling for survival and ratings and journalists are increasingly rated for their budget-friendly ability to churn out volume and drama, rather than informed investigation.

    Well done on the article above, some refreshingly real journalism!

  5. This appears to be a step in the right direction. I am sure this blog made an excellent contribution to causing that flurry of meetings yesterday which is mentioned in the article linked below.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/antigay-stance-leads-to-quit-offer-20120514-1yn51.html

  6. […] many on the list to a number of anti-gay evangelical groups. Marian also blogged the following day, tearing apart the studies that the letter had cited as evidence for its claims and articulating for all the bad science and logic espoused by these medical […]

  7. Glenn Watson says:

    There should be more honest Christians like a strongly Catholic good friend of mine whom I respect very much as a person. We were discussing this issue and she said that to her, marriage was “a sacrament”. It was religious and if I wanted civil recognition, why use that term necessarily?

    I replied, well, all those heterosexual couples for whom it *wasn’t* a sacrament should therefore be prevented from using the term “marriage” as well. If the union was between a man and a woman of no faith, was the sacred element of it then compulsory?

    And besides all that, was she going to then tell me that my love for my partner of four years was *not* worth the bestowment of the same legal recognition as any other couple?

    She thought for a moment – as she said she’d been doing for some months about gay marriage as it affected me, her good friend of many decades – and said: okay, I understand. I think you should be able to get married.

    Now THAT’S a Christian. Compassionate, thoughtful and not bound up in hideous ideologies.

  8. The Vos group mentioned above are sponsoring a free to attend anti-SSM “national family event” in Hobart this Thursday.

  9. Damien says:

    The ABC has a sensationalist headinline, but then followed it up with quotes from the AMA going “bwah??” and comments from the Victorian health minister.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-13/doctors-say-heterosexual-marriage-better-for-kids/4008452
    Plus, they published the letter… I know I went through it to double check no-one I’ve seen for medical stuff was in there, I’d suggest other people do too.

    • nickandrew says:

      I have, and half the doctors in my local Medical Centre are on the list 😦

      • Damien says:

        I recommend writing them a letter explaining why you won’t be coming any more. It won’t change _their_ opinions, but the business might go “er, losing money is bad”

    • Dr Chris Miller says:

      If you see the name of your doctor in the list, it’s a good opportunity to do something constructive. Please don’t just abandon the practice – if you do, the doctor in question won’t know why. Also, you may be affecting the business of others in the practice who are supportive of same sex marriage. I suggest you do the following:

      1. Write to the practice manager expressing your concerns

      2. Make inquiries – is there another doctor in the same practice who is supportive of same sex marriage? If so, see that doctor. He or she will have access to your medical history, resulting in better continuity of care for you. Also, the homophobic doctor will know you abandoned them in favour of the gay-friendly one. That will give you a sense of satisfaction every time you attend the practice

      3. If you honestly feel that your medical care has been/will be affected by the homophobic position of the doctor in question, you should notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency: http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications-and-Outcomes.aspx.

  10. […] Post navigation « Previous Post Next Post » […]

  11. Red Wolf says:

    It is rather baffling that “doctors” spouting homophobic hate doesn’t immediately trigger a “Who the hell are these propaganda whores?” reaction. If you didn’t have that initial response, you’re not a journalist. What you are is a mindless drone palming of press releases as “news” for lobby groups.

    It’s not like it’s rocket science to guess who’s likely to be backing something so stupid.

  12. Children from less educated hetro couples will certainly have lower lifetime incomes. So on D4F logic they should be prevented from having children.

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