Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Footnotes to Previous Discussions: Mark Regnerus and Margaret Thatcher

Brief glosses today on two items about which I've written recently:

I blogged this past weekend about new evidence corroborating the conclusion that Mark Regnerus's study of "gay" parents was politically driven from its very inception. As I noted in that posting, a document made available under a public records request to University of Texas in Austin by American Independent shows Regenerus being trained by an unidentified person or persons to deal with media questions that might ask him if he's more a political activist than academic researcher, after his study had been published. (The document advises him to stress the researcher thing and not the activist one.)

Now an investigative journalist, John Becker, has filed a lawsuit against the University of Central Florida, on whose faculty Professor James Wright sits. Wright edits the publication in which Regnerus published his study. The journal, Social Science Research, has been widely criticized for rushing Regnerus's study through its review process, violating its own rules about review of academic articles and its norms governing conflict of interest as academic articles are reviewed.

As Becker's blog site notes, he filed a public records request with University of Central Florida in March, which was denied in early April. As Sofia Resnick indicates for American Independent, Becker's lawsuit maintains that UCF has violated Florida public records laws by refusing to make available documents showing how Regnerus's study was vetted for publication by Social Science Research.

And, finally, a brief follow-up to what I posted last week about the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, whose funeral was yesterday: I appreciate Sir Ian McKellen's honest comments at his blog site about Thatcher's less than praiseworthy legacy concerning LGBT human beings and their rights. McKellen writes,

Lest we forget, this nasty, brutish and short measure of the third Thatcher administration [i.e., Section 28], was designed to slander homosexuality, by prohibiting state schools from discussing positively gay people and our "pretended family relations". Opposition to Section 28 galvanised a new generation of activists who joined with long-time campaigners for equality. Stonewall UK was founded, to repeal Section 28 and pluck older rotten anti-gay legislation from the constitutional tree. This has taken two decades to achieve. 
Pathetically, in her dotage, Baroness Thatcher was led by her supporters into the House of Lords to vote against Section 28's repeal: her final contribution to UK politics. She dies too early to oppose Parliament's inevitable acceptance of same–gender marriage. 
Thatcher misjudged the future when, according to her deputy chief whip, she "threw a piece of red meat (Section 28) to her right-wing wolves". Some of these beasts survive her, albeit de-fanged. When, to take a recent example, a disgraced cardinal delivers anti-gay diatribes, the spirit of social Thatcherism is revealed as barren, hypocritical and now pointless.

And why should we forget this heritage, and the alacrity with which Thatcher threw gay and lesbian human beings as red meat to right-wing wolves in Britain, when she saw how well that tactic was serving her GOP allies in the U.S.? Eulogizing should not comprise forgetting.

About Thatcher's funeral, by the way, Damien Walter of The Guardian has tweeted,

Thatcher's funeral cost = £10 million. Latest 'unavoidable' cuts to Arts Council England = £11.6 million.

(Many thanks to reader StraightGrandmother for providing links to the two pieces about Regnerus linked above.)

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