Saturday, April 13, 2013

New Evidence Corroborates Conclusion That Regnerus Study Was Politically Driven

Also in the news this week, and not unrelated to the "this was a week" posting I just published: Sofia Resnick published an important exposé article this past week in the American Independent which adds significantly to the growing body of evidence that Mark Regnerus published his widely discredited study of "gay" parents for political and not research reasons.

As Resnick notes, among the items a public records request by American Independent to the University of Texas has now uncovered is a document entitled "Mark Regnerus Media Training" which was sent to Regnerus before he published his study purporting to prove that gay parents are inferior parents--though Regnerus didn't actually study gay parents! As Resnick also reports, neither Resnick, University of Texas officials, nor the directors of the Witherspoon Institute which largely funded Regnerus's study can explain who produced this media training document or why it was crafted.

The "Mark Regnerus Media Training" document coaches Regnerus on handling media questions once his study had been published. It tells him to emphasize that he's a researcher and not an advocate for a political cause. It advises him to tell the media that, as a scientific researcher interested in empirical study of a sociological issue, he's apolitical.

And yet as Resnick points out, Regnerus has now signed onto an amicus curiae brief sent to the Supreme Court by seven social scientists defending both proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, who tell the court that "compelling evidence shows that children benefit from the unique parenting contributions of both men and women." The brief also seeks to defend Regnerus's study against the many social scientists who have noted that its methodology is flawed and that the way in which it was vetted for publication was highly unusual, since it was rushed through the vetting process of the journal in which it initially appeared, evidently to position it as a bona fide scientific study "proving" that gay parents are inferior parents as the prop 8 and DOMA cases headed to the Supreme Court.

Resnick also points that Regnerus has belied his claim not to be an activist through a posting at his blog site complaining about the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and she notes that he's slated to be a key speaker at this summer's Ruth Institute conference. The Ruth Institute was prominent in the battle against gay marriage in California and is affiliated with the anti-gay activist group the National Organization for Marriage.

It has been clear to me for some time now that the Regnerus study was bought and paid for by the Witherspoon Institute precisely to be a tool in influencing the Supreme Court decision about marriage equality. The study seeks to convince the public that we do not yet know enough about families headed by same-sex couples to warrant approval of gay marriage, and that the little bit that we do know suggests that same-sex parents are inferior parents. 

That the study is achieving its desired political objective seems evident to me by the remarks Justice Alito made during the hearing of the Supreme Court marriage equality cases, when he stated that same-sex marriage is as dangerously new as cell phones and the internet. (For my previous discussions of the Regnerus study, which link to many valuable statements at other blog sites about the study, please click the "Mark Regnerus" tab below.)

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