Franken 1, Minnery 0

On an otherwise dreary day in the political world, it’s nice to have Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) brighten my day by making a religious right activist look ridiculous in public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on the Respect for Marriage Act, a Democratic measure that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Republicans invited Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery to testify as a religious right “expert” on the issue.

It’s safe to say Franken used his time wisely.

It’s tough to provide a detailed transcript for those who can’t watch clips from your work computers, but Minnery argued in his statement for the committee that there’s documented proof that children raised in a household with a mother and a father are infinitely more likely to be better off than in any other family structure. As proof, the Focus on the Family leader cited a study published by the Department of Health and Human Services late last year.

“I checked the study out,” Franken said with a smile.

The Minnesota senator proceeded to explain that Minnery misrepresented the report’s contents in a rather dramatic way. What HHS actually found is that children do better in two-parent households, but whether those parents are of the same gender or not was irrelevant.

“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 concluded. “And I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways.”

Thanks, Tom, for stopping by the booth. Next time, do your homework before misleading a Senate committee.