Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mark Regnerus Back in News: Straight Men Who Support Marriage Equality Consume More Porn

Also not to be missed as the year turns: Mark Regnerus, the author of this year's widely criticized study about "gay" parenting that Regnerus himself admits wasn't really about gay parenting at all, is back in the news again. His latest foray into scholarship demonstrating that the notion of marriage equality is unsound: an article at the Witherspoon Institute website claiming that straight men supporting marriage equality tend to watch more porn than do other straight men. 

And then there's this claim:

The same pattern emerges for the statement, "Gay and lesbian couples do just as good a job raising children as heterosexual couples." Only 26 percent of the lightest porn users concurred, compared to 63 percent of the heaviest consumers. It's a linear association for men: the more porn they consume, the more they affirm this statement. More rigorous statistical tests confirmed that this association too is a very robust one.

Women, according to one study after another, support marriage equality at rates much higher than that of males, but Regnerus's latest study completely ignores that fact or the porn-viewing habits of women, save for a single throwaway line admitting that women's attitudes about marriage equality differ from those of many men. 

Why pay attention to this latest tidbit of news?

1. It's likely to be lost sight of in the flurry of end-of-year news, yet it's an important indicator of Regnerus's thick (as in bought-and-paid-for) enmeshment in the anti-gay industry of the religious and political right. Witherspoon Institute--the same Witherspoon Institute on whose website this latest Regnerus tidbit is published--paid for the resoundingly criticized study of "gay" parenting by Regnerus.

2. Witherspoon Institute was founded by neocon anti-gay Catholic thinker Robert P. George and others. George is chairman emeritus of the board of the anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage. George drafted the anti-gay neocon call to religious-right warfare, the Manhattan Declaration. 

3. With his latest statement at the website of the Witherspoon Institute, it's now well-nigh impossible for  Regnerus, who is a convert to Catholicism, to claim that he's engaged in dispassionate, above-the-fray scholarship about the merits or demerits of gays as parents. 

4. He's a political player whose scholarship is serving political ends, and the widespread criticism his scholarship is earning among his peers is merited for that reason alone, as well as for his financial ties to Witherspoon and the strange way in which the journal that published his "gay" parenting study, Social Science Research, handled the peer-review process before it rushed Regnerus's paper to publication.

For my statements about the Regnerus study throughout the past year, see the following:

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