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Focus on the
Family accused of manipulating research

Focus on the
Family accused of manipulating research

The right-wing group Focus on the Family is being accused of manipulating research on gays and lesbians in an effort to advance its homophobic agenda. It all began when the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based group released a statement on its Web site refuting the results of a study on lesbian teens conducted by Elizabeth Saewyc of the University of British Columbia. Saewyc's study found that lesbian teens were more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, but Focus on the Family took an opportunity to use the findings to come up with a different conclusion than what Saewyc found. "Regrettably, [lesbian teens] think they have to embrace homosexuality because pro-gay advocates told them that they were born gay," claimed Focus on the Family spokeswoman Melissa Fryrear on the group's site. On Monday, Saewyc responded to Focus on the Family's claims by telling the Canadian Press, "The research has been hijacked for somebody's political purposes or ideological purposes, and that's worrisome." The conservative group defended itself in the Canadian Press article by bringing up a 2001 study on sexual orientation conducted by Columbia University professor Robert Spitzer. Spitzer said Focus on the Family was once again distorting the facts. "Although a third of the subjects in my study reported having had serious thoughts of suicide related to their homosexuality, not one of them blamed the gay rights movement's advocating a 'born gay' theory of homosexuality as the cause of their suicidal thinking," Spitzer said. "Focus on the Family should shut down its fib factory and start focusing on the needs of real families," said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a pro-gay advocacy group. "This group mocks science and can't tell a centrifuge from a centerfold or a test tube from a boob tube. All they understand is the science of spin, which got them into a lot of trouble." (The Advocate)

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