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.