Friday, July 13, 2012

Regnerus Study Appears June 10, Is Cited in Amicus Curiae Brief by Christian-Right Group on June 11

The deeply flawed, pseudo-scientific Regnerus study, which is being interpreted to "prove" that "gay parents" are poor parents, was published by the scholarly journal Social Science Research on June 10.

Guess what study got cited on June 11 by a right-wing group called the American College of Pediatricians in an amicus curiae brief in the Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management federal lawsuit seeking to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act?

If you guessed the R-E-G-N-E-R-U-S study, you won the prize!  Sofia Resnick reports on this development at the American Independent.

That was fast, wasn't it?  A scholarly study appears one day in an academic journal, and the very next day, it's showing up in an amicus curiae brief for a federal case.  According to the American College of Pediatricians, the group was asked by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian-right group known until recently as the Alliance Defense Fund, to file the brief two weeks prior to filing.

As Resnick notes, the strategy of using the Regnerus study to "prove" that "gay" parents are poor parents was trumpeted by none other than National Organization for Marriage's Maggie Gallagher almost as soon as the study appeared.  And Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, which was a major funder of the Regnerus study and whose co-founder Robert George is NOM's emeritus chair,  has also been talking about how useful this new study will be in litigation about same-sex marriage.

It's almost as if they all knew this study was coming, isn't it?  As if they had some inside track about what it was going to "prove" and how it could be used in litigation . . . . 

Which makes the question that 200+ scholars in Regenerus's field and the allied field of psychotherapy have put to the Social Science Research journal more pertinent than ever: what accounts for the alacrity with which this study--and no other comparable study--sailed through the review process of the journal?  Why was the peer review process expedited and, so it seems, tailor-made to get this study to print ASAP?

Inquiring minds would surely like to know.  This is all extremely . . . odd . . . and decidedly non-kosher for academic life.  It has the smell of big $$$ working for political ends behind the scenes and making mincemeat of scholarly principles in the process.

P.S. On the American College of Pediatricians, see this New York Times article by Frank Rich, which aptly describes the group as "a political organization peddling homophobic junk-science."  And see this take-down of the group's claims by Warren Throckmorton, a former leader of the Christian ex-gay movement who's a professor of psychology.  As Right Wing Watch notes, ACP was founded as a "small, right-wing splinter group" with the misleading title of American College of Pediatricians to compete with the real, bona-fide professional society representing the vast majority of American professional pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has long since rejected the homophobic junk-science claims that ACP wants to peddle.

And on the Alliance Defense Fund, see this profile of the group by Right-Wing Watch and this collections of valuable information (and here) at Media Transparency.

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