Misquoted and Misrepresented

December 3, 2003 | by | Topic: Faith & SocietyPrint Print

The issue of gay marriage does some strange things to certain people. The matter certainly can bring out strong feelings. For instance, I recently testified before an Ohio House of Representatives committee on the subject and there was a man there who shouted “Sieg Heil!” repeatedly after most of the people finished their testimony. He was quite loud. Later, he called me a “jesus nazi.” I’ve been called many names before but that was the first time for that one.

The issue may also impact one’s hearing and reading ability. At least that could be one explanation for how reporter Eric Resnick of the Gay People’s Chronicle misquoted and misrepresented my testimony so badly. Another explanation is that the faulty reporting was deliberate.

He started out fine by noting that my testimony would describe a study that addressed “how psychologists regard the differences between homosexual partners and heterosexual marriages.” However, his reporting went downhill from there. Even though he apparently had my written remarks, he noted that I was published in journals of the American Mental Health Counselors Association but omitted my publications in American Psychological Association (APA) journals.

Then he characterized my testimony as based on quotes from popular sources Rosie O’Donnell and USA Weekend. He never mentioned the 6 peer reviewed reports that made up the bulk of my remarks. I would think an objective reporter would describe to his readers the information I presented to back up my arguments. Was Mr. Resnick deliberately attempting to undermine my credibility?

I noted that according a 1999 study in the APA journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, in a hypothetical situation, psychologists preferred to place a child with a heterosexual couple rather than a gay couple. I further noted research evidence that documented the lack of fidelity in gay relationships. Unfaithfulness in a straight relationship can be devastating, whereas, according to peer-reviewed research, many gay couples define their “primary relationships” to include infidelity. It seems to me that these are important considerations when examining the issue of gay marriage. Apparently, Mr. Resnick did not think his readers needed to be informed of the data. If you want to check up on me, you can read the full testimony at www.drthrockmorton.com.

My complaints so far fall into the category of being misrepresented. However, Mr. Resnick also misquoted me. He correctly noted that I referred to a documentary film crew from Holland that recently came to the US to speak to some ex-gays and those who research sexuality, myself included. However, Resnick wrote that in answer to one of the legislator’s questions, I “revealed that the film crew was composed of ‘ex-gays.’” His hearing must have completely left him at that point.

I never said that. In fact, the crew was from one of the Dutch public television networks that was simply interested in researching the issue of sexual identity change. I must say they were quite thorough and had a professionalism that Mr. Resnick could aspire to. But to my knowledge they were not ex-gay. Was Mr. Resnick deliberately trying to undermine the credibility of the film crew?

After giving my testimony and then reading Mr. Resnick’s account in the gay press, I can understand how many of those people who rely on such sources can be so ill informed. Mr. Resnick’s account was then picked up by the Ex-Gay Watch website and presented as gospel. If sources such as these are where many gay identified folks get their news or information, no wonder some show up at public events screaming, “Sieg Heil.”

I would think those who frequent such “news” sources would demand accurate reporting and objective analysis. And you can quote me on that.

Warren Throckmorton

Warren Throckmorton

Dr. Warren Throckmorton is an associate professor of psychology and fellow for psychology and public policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is co-author (with Dr. Michael Coulter) of ”Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President.” He can be contacted through his blog at www.WThrockmorton.com..

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