Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) took on a representative of the conservative group Focus on the Family for mischaracterizing a study on “nuclear families” at a hearing on a bill which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
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At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Franken noted that the group’s testimony listed the benefits of children “living with their biological and/or adopted mothers and fathers” as surpassing those of children “living in any other family form.” He observed they listed a Department of Health and Human Services study as backing that up.
“I actually checked it out,” Franken said in reference to the study FOF’s Thomas Minnery has cited. He then observed it uses the term “nuclear families” without specifically mentioning “opposite sex married families.”
“Isn’t it true, Mr. Minnery, that a married same-sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a nuclear family in the study that you cite?” Franken asked.
“I think that the study, when it cites nuclear families would mean a family headed by a husband and wife,” Minnery said.
“It doesn’t,” Franken said, getting laughs from the audience.
“The study defines a nuclear family as one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all the children in the family,” Franken continued. “And I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways.”
The hearing came a day after President Barack Obama signaled his support for the repeal of DOMA. The Justice Department has already stopped defending the law in court because it found that the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional.