Must-Watch Video: Sen. Al Franken On Reading A Study Right

Yum! Thank you, Gary Schwitzer of, for the steer to this delectable two-minute video. Even putting the issue of gay marriage aside, how often do you get to hear a politician say, in effect, "No. I've read the study. And that's not what it says."?

The tweet on it said that Franken, of Minnesota, "schools the world on how to handle those who twist science to support nonsense." In the C-SPAN video above, he upbraids Thomas Minnery of Focus on the Family, an anti-gay-marriage witness. Minnery had apparently written in his testimony that a study found that children living with heterosexual parents were healthier, happier and emotionally better off than the children of gay parents.

"I checked the study out," Franken says. "And it actually doesn't say what you said it says. It says that nuclear families, not opposite-sex married families, are associated with those positive outcomes. 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?"

"I would think that the study, when it cites nuclear families, would mean a family headed by a husband and wife," Minnery replies.

Franken says bluntly: "It doesn't. The study defined a nuclear family as one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adopted parents of all the children in the family. And I frankly don't really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you're reading studies these ways!"

This program aired on July 21, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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