Paul Clement’s Star Witness Says That Clement Incorrectly Distorted Her Work

Edie Windsor is challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in federal court because the anti-gay law forced her to pay a boatload of taxes on the estate she inherited from her deceased wife. To defend DOMA in this case, lawyer for the Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) Paul Clement sought to prove that homosexuality is a choice by quoting research work from Psychology and Gender Studies Professor Lisa Diamond.

In short, Clement quoted lines in which Diamond said that there is no consensus on the experiences that “qualify” someone as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and that some people who identify as gay later leave such labels behind. But in an excellent turn of events, Professor Diamond just filed an affidavit saying that Clement’s citation “misconstrues,” “distorts,” and “incorrectly characterizes” her work which has to do with sexual identity labels and not sexual orientation. She adds, “Counsel for BLAG never requested that I serve as an expert witness for them… If they had so requested, I would not have agreed to do so.”

It’s pretty embarrassing when someone you’ve cited for supporting evidence writes in to tell the judge that their work has been taken deliberately out of context. Of course, we never took BLAG’s crappy arguments supporting DOMA seriously to begin with.

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  • Elloreigh

    Have to love it when scientists and researchers quoted out of context issue the smackdown to those who willfully distort their findings.

  • Jakey

    That is beautiful. It’s like the Marshall McLuhan scene in ‘Annie Hall,’ only it really did happen, and in front of the entire world.

  • xander

    Score one for Prof. Diamond and integrity! Boo hiss for Clement and his ‘ethics.’

    I’m not sure as to the legal protocol, but it seems like common sense to make sure whomever you cite actually agrees with your conclusions on their research. Otherwise your case looks looks undercooked and sloppy.

  • Mykelb

    Government’s defense of DOMA contains references to the work of Paul Cameron and George Rekers

    Yesterday, it was discovered that one of the experts, Professor Lisa Diamond, cited by Speaker of the House John Boehner’s legal team in their defense of DOMA complained that her work was being distorted.

    Boehner’s team is defending DOMA against Edie Windsor, an 81-year-old woman suing the federal government for not recognizing her union with her late partner.

    The portion having to do with Lisa Diamond’s work is in documentation provided by the lawyer chosen to defend DOMA, Paul Clement (see the documentation here.) Clement is using this documentation as an attempt to get the case dismissed and for the judge to deny Windsor’s motion for summary judgment.

    Diamond’s complaint is detrimental to this pursuit. But I think I have found another potentially huge problem.

    There is a portion of Clement’s documentation which bears much scrutiny. It is the section called “Plaintiff Misstates the Science on Same-Sex Parenting” and it is a huge mess.

    Part of this section (pg. 24) cites George W. Dent, Jr., No Difference?: An Analysis of Same-Sex Parenting.

    Dent is a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who has written many negative papers on marriage equality and homosexuality in general. In the paper cited by Boehner’s legal team, he pulls out all of the stops to make the case that same-sex parenting is inferior to heterosexual parenting, even the citing of folklore:

    Every child with homosexual guardians has lost at least one biological parent. Loss of a parent is universally regarded as a great misfortune. If the child has one biological parent, the other adult is a step-parent. In fables step-parents are typically hostile to their step-children.

    If you pardon me for being so bold, anyone who takes Dent’s paper as credible is dealing in folklore themselves. There are several problems with it including:

    On page four, Dent cites both Paul Cameron and George Rekers, both discredited researchers. Cameron has been censured or rebuked by several organizations for his bad methodology in his studies and Rekers lost a lot of credibility for last year’s scandal when he was caught coming from a European vacation with a “rentboy.”

    On page two, Dent cites the work of Walter Schumm’s study Children of Homosexuals More Apt To Be Homosexuals? A Reply to Morrison and to Cameron Based on an Examination of Multiple Sources of Data.

    Schumm’s study was criticized for using the same false methodology as Cameron’s work. i.e. citing sources “from general-audience books about LGBT parenting and families, most of which are available on”

    Furthermore, in 2008, Rekers and Schumm testified for Florida’s gay adoption ban. The judge overseeing the case, Cindy Lederman, criticized both of them. She said about Rekers:

    “(His) testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”

    And about Schumm, she said:

    ” (He) integrates his religious and ideological beliefs into his research,” citing several of his writings, including one with Rekers, in which a theological argument against homosexuality is offered.”

    Regarding Cameron, Dent’s paper not only cites him directly, but also indirectly.

    On page 13, Dent cites a book called Straight & Narrow by Thomas E. Schmidt to make criticisms about gay health. However, Schmidt is not a credible researcher in the field of gay health. He is a professor of New Testament Greek at Westmont College in Santa Barbara and according to Rev. Mel White of the group Soulforce, Schmidt cited Cameron’s discredited studies many times in Straight & Narrow (5th letter to Jerry Falwell.)

    Another huge problem with Dent’s paper is on page 16 when it cites a paper by the American College of Pediatricians (Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time for Change?).

    The American College of Pediatricians is not a credible organization, but an organization created to give credibility to junk science about the gay community. Last year, over 14,000 school district superintendents in the country were sent a letter by ACP inviting them to peruse and use information from a new site, Facts About Youth. The site claimed to present “facts” supposedly not tainted by “political correctness.” Of course these were not facts, but ugly distortions about the gay community, including:

    Some gay men sexualize human waste, including the medically dangerous practice of coprophilia, which means sexual contact with highly infectious fecal wastes

    The particular study by the ACP cited by Dent, Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time for Change?, is filled with several errors which I talked about two years ago, including:

    1. Outdated work

    2. Extreme distortion of studies not meant by to used to gauge the effects of same-sex parenting.

    3. And researcher complaints.

    In citing Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time for Change?, Den tries to pull a double deception. Not only does he cite this poor study done by ACP, but he actually takes some of the individual bad work from the study and cites it on its own throughout his study in general.

    One has to wonder what other “surprises” Boehner’s defense of DOMA contains. They may not be accurate but they are certainly entertaining.

  • soakman

    Honestly, if you’re going to defend DOMA, do NOT try to cite a Gender Studies professor. They WILL call you out and kick your ass. Gender studies is all about political and human rights movements due to releasing civilization from the bondage of stereotypes and social expectations.

    That’s why it is GENDER studies, not Sex Studies, or something along the lines of neuropsychology and/or anatomy. And even there, there’s not going to be much support for a doma defense claim.

  • Mark

    Lying is not an option for Clement — it is mandatory!
    The only defense for DOMA is deception

  • Alan

    Yet another Dan Villarreal fail. Dan, if you had bothered to read either her affidavit or the motion papers asking the court to strike the government’s citation to her work, you would know that she was not called as a witness, let alone as the government’s “star witness”. In fact, that was the primary basis for the motion to strike – i.e., that the govt. was citing her work w/o designating her as an expert witness who would have been subject to a deposition.

    Dan, please, take a class in journalism. It is bad enough that you do no original reporting, but that you can’t even accurately present the work of others is pathetic.

  • csw

    man, that Diamond is a real gem!

  • Alan

    Why is “choice” always an issue regarding GLBT issues. Religion is a choice and yet we protect that. But I’m sure BLAG doesn’t see this inconsistency.

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