Author of controversial ‘gold standard’ study on gay parenting being investigated by university
July 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The University of Texas has launched a “scientific misconduct” investigation of UT sociologist Mark Regnerus, after he was accused by homosexual activists of “scientific misconduct” in his recent study.
Regnerus’ study, published in the July issue of Social Science Research, found that children of homosexual parents have significantly more social and mental-health problems than children of heterosexual parents.
The study has been described as a “gold standard” study, because of its use of a large, random sample, with responses coming from the children of opposite sex and same-sex parents. Previous studies on the subject of homosexual parenting have typically used small “convenience” samples, and have often relied on the responses of the parents, rather than the children.
The study raised a tremendous outcry from gay rights activists, including from Scott Rosensweig, or “Scott Rose”, a writer on LGBTQ issues for “The New Civil Rights Movement” blog.
The University of Texas began the investigation shortly after Rosensweig wrote an open letter to William Powers, the president of UT, claiming that Regnerus was guilty of scientific misconduct because the study was “designed so as to be guaranteed to make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and defamatory.”
Rosensweig also accused Regnerus of being politically biased, because he received funding from institutions, such as the Witherspoon Institute and The Bradley Foundation, that are said to support traditional marriage. He also claimed that Regnerus “harbors anti-gay prejudices” because he is a recent convert to Catholicism.
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But in an interview with The Daily Texan, Regnerus declared: “I stand by everything I did, said, wrote. I don’t have a political axe to grind… I will always follow where the data leads.”
“My views have never been a part of this process or affect how I go about analyzing things,” Regnerus stated. “And I think most people have made up their mind about a lot of these political questions, regardless of data, so I never set about assuming I could change people’s minds one way or another with data. It’s irrelevant to my task.”
A group of 18 notable social scientists also responded to the criticism with a public statement on the Baylor University website, defending Regnerus’ study.
The statement affirms the scientific integrity of Regnerus’ methods, answering the primary accusations that had been fired at him, and pointing out the inadequacy of previous studies on the same subject.
“We are disappointed that many media outlets have not done their due diligence in investigating the scientific validity of prior studies, and acknowledging the superiority of Regnerus’s sample to most previous research,” it states.
“As social scientists, our hope is that more such studies will be forthcoming shortly, and that future journalistic coverage of such studies, and this contentious topic, will be more civil, thorough, and thoughtful than has been the coverage of the new study by Professor Mark Regnerus.”