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  • Case Closed at UT Austin: Regnerus Exonerated

    In a victory for academic freedom, the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday made clear that sociologist Mark Regnerus’s study of adults whose parents had same-sex relationships deserves scholarly discussion—not investigation for scientific misconduct.

    A litany of allegations made by a blogger had triggered an inquiry earlier this summer. In a press release dated August 29, the university cleared Regnerus and “deemed the matter closed from an institutional perspective.” The release explained:

    As required by its Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, the university conducted an inquiry to determine whether the accusations made by writer Scott Rose had merit and warranted a formal investigation. After consulting with a four-member advisory panel composed of senior university faculty members, the Office of the Vice President for Research concluded in a report on Aug. 24 that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.

    The Regnerus study has been the target of vitriolic attacks since its release on June 10 by the peer-reviewed journal Social Science Research. The study found some negative outcomes for children of parents who had same-sex relationships when compared to those in intact biological families. These findings contradict the “no differences” claim that has helped propel judicial activism on the issue of marriage.

    Beyond labeling the study “dangerous propaganda” and “appalling and irresponsible,” opponents have sought to discredit the author himself. An assistant editor at The New Republic called Regnerus a “retrograde researcher” and suggested that this study should “mark the beginning of the end of Mark Regnerus’s credibility with respectable news outlets.”

    More serious scholarly judgment has reached a much different conclusion. Three researchers published responses to Regnerus’s work in the same journal issue, and each credited his study with advancing inquiry on the subject. In contrast to prior studies based mostly on small, non-representative “convenience” samples, Regnerus’s New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is a large, national sample that provides the most representative picture to date of young adults whose parents had same-sex relationships. Professor Paul Amato of Penn State University notes in his discussion of the study that the NFSS “is probably the best that we can hope for, at least in the near future.”

    University of Texas officials concluded their exoneration of Regnerus with this observation: “As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large. The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.”

    For the sake of civil discourse on one of the most pressing issues of our day, all Americans should expect the same.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    50 Responses to Case Closed at UT Austin: Regnerus Exonerated

    1. Scott_Rose says:

      The three commentators whose commentary was published alongside the Regnerus study were PAID study consultants. And, they are not experts in LGBT sciences, period, still less in the esoteric topic of same-sex parents' child outcomes. Even more serious is that two of the Regnerus's study's peer reviewers were paid study consultants; they thus had fiduciary conflicts of interest. The study did not receive valid, ethical and appropriate professional peer review prior to publication. There can be no exaggerating how damaging that is to the study's perceived integrity in the academy. The President of the American Sociological Association has now signed his name to a letter expressing concerns about the study's lack of intellectual integrity and about its suspicious publication schedule. The ASA is preparing court filings that will express the idea that the Regnerus study does not support the conclusions it offers. One Golinski case amicus brief filed by eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association analyzes the Regnerus study as scientifically invalid. The editor of he Journal of Marriage and Family, the premiere journal for scientific family studies, also signed the aforementioned letter. The peer reviewers with conflicts of interest let the invalid study through to publication, but a mass of scientists discerned the studies fatal scientific flaws and have articulated them, with the full faith and credit of their professional scientific associations behind them. It is typical of Jennifer Marshall in her post above, that she cherry picks from reactions to the Regnerus study, utterly ignores the legitimate science-based analyses that have concluded the study is invalid, and then quotes in support of the study people who were PAID consultants on it. What is especially to be deplored, is that Jennifer Marshall does this, coming from a place of ignorance-fueled, bullying non-acceptance of gay human beings.

      • Richard says:

        The problem with the homosexual agenda among many others things is that the gay population doesn't really believe in tolerance. The standard is the following: tell us what we want to hear and we will be tolerant, tell us what we don't want to hear tolerance doesn't apply. this is clearly illustrated in the Regnerus study where it was found that effects occur in children raised by homosexual parents. Those of the gay movement are more concerned about justifying their personal guilt and insecurities through the reinforcement of societal acceptance of a chosen lifestyle. unfortunately over 35 states have ratified their state constitution to affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman. This bothers the gay community but yet the people spoke. Where is the tolerance for the state's view on this issue? If you were fully honest with yourself, you can agree that tolerance is the wrong word to attribute to the gay movement rather it is intolerance that they assert.

      • David says:

        I did not know that the LGBT community had their own science already. The homosexual hegemonic propaganda has got to be stop. The only thing that is unscientific is the idea that homosexuality is not a psychiatric problem. All the general practitioners in the medical field and the biologist can attest to the fact that a penis does not belong in an anus and can damage it after continuous exploitation. Every psychologist can attest that homosexual acts are abuse, abnormal use, of another human being and their reproductive and digestive organs. We need to talk about the homosexuals walking around with diapers because they have been render incontinent because of years of abuse. Medical practitioners have to take a stand against the political coercion to which they have been subjected. It is a historical fact that the decision by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) to declassify homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder dove tailed with the infamous political attack of their convention in San Francisco in 1970. It is about time that we have some clear-headed non-politically charged scientific leaders who are brave enough to be honest and true to science. What we need is a wall of separation between science and politics.

      • robert says:

        Are people supposed to take your word on the matter over the university's about the study not receiving attacks?
        And for the record, just who is an expert on LGBT except God, Himself, since the word of God says in Rom. 1 that it was HE that gave these people over to such practice of fornication and lust of the flesh for not recognizing Him and His divine authority? But, that's the core issue, isn't it?
        People who ignore God want to do what is right in their own eyes don''t care what He thinks or requires of "His" creation despite the fact they will eventually answer to Him. Nature itself speaks out agains same gender sex and no person who respects God can in good conscience endorse homosexuality through recognition of same sex marriage.

      • scirel says:

        Of course I don't see anything here asserting that his results were WRONG, and that the previous studies that he challenged were proper and valid studies. You sound more like a defense attorney trying to instill reasonable doubt.

        From the study: "Social scientists of family transitions have until recently commonly noted the elevated stability and social benefits of the two-parent (heterosexual) married household, when contrasted to single mothers, cohabiting couples, adoptive parents, and ex-spouses sharing custody."

        And if this is the case, are you suggesting that someone is supposed to believe that the two-parent homosexual side is going to wind up at the same levels as the two-parent heterosexual parents? Really?

        Even if the study is half wrong, the conclusion is the same – the kids are NOT all right.

      • Dan Smithcorn says:

        Utter nonsense and unsupported baloney Scott. You should listen to the University scholars who reviewed this study and get off your bias. And stop the verbal bullying.

      • trip says:

        My, my! Here it is again: if someone disagrees with us, they MUST be hate filled bullies. Why is this the only possibility? Is your mind really that limited? What other area of contention in society is governed by such stupid thinking?

      • Jolly says:

        Lots of words you have there… still, they dont change the fact that homosexuality is a disgrace and sin for any human being.

      • Randy says:

        Your last sentence is an outright LIE. The "gay human beings" ARE ACCEPTED. Their illegitimate choices are what are receiving a simple disagreement of opinion and the appropriate free speech and voting representation afforded by the constitution. A document which is being misconstrued to provide SPECIAL RIGHTS to a SELF DESIGNATED group. In fact, the 14th amendment provides NO SPECIAL RIGHTS above the DUE PROCESS which is being followed by the opponents of "so called" gay rights unlike the same-sex fill-in-the-blank advocates who work backwards through activist jurists. 31 states tell the story that there is NO EQUALITY in the proposed "redefinition" of marriage and which is supported by societal precedence based on simple anatomical examination showing the compatibility of a male/female relationship unlike the proposed INequality. Anything else is junk science paid/supported by the adolescent infatuations represented by the "original" same-sex fill-in-the-blank proponents. Its simply the misguided "locked in a rut" group and those hungry for acceptance that sign on to the mistaken psychological and genetic trash being pushed.

        If you want to redefine precedental human relationships, follow the rules provided by the constitution of our representative democratic republic. Take example from the ones who disagree with you.

    2. Clematys says:

      The botched "study" hasn't received "vitriolic" attacks. It has received and will forever receive criticism for the biased way in which it sought to propagate bigotry.

    3. JeffreyRO5 says:

      The Regnerus study has been widely discredited by Mr. Regnerus' peers. It's junk science, regardless of the conclusions that conservatives appear to like so well. I can't imagine why Ms. Marshall is writing an obviously fraudulent article like this. The study has been panned and even the University of Texas, in their decision not to launch a misconduct inquiry, said that the study has many short-comings. It's unusable, until the data set is released in November.

      • Actually, in contradiction to what you say, the inquiry report says:
        "Whether the research…possessed significant limitations or was even perhaps seriously flawed is a determination that should be left to debates that are currently underway in the academy and future research that validates or invalidates his findings."

    4. Bob says:

      I'm a mental health professional. Honest practitioners with experience treating these clients have long understood these things to be as described here and have been frustrated by the prevailing pseudo scientific perspectives in counseling from even having a dialogue with colleagues about their cases. These children are in pain and political correctness has prevented their healers from directly addressing their real issues and offering healing.

      • J. Espos says:

        True. I worked psych for 28 years and it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a bunch of studies to see the hurt and life long pain caused by behavour that goes against what we already know is not healthy for mind, body or spirit.

    5. Jörn Boost says:

      Mark Regnerus deserves highest praise. It is not often found these days of ideological doctrines that a person ha the courage to tell the truth – especially if the same is not "politically correct". Mark has, therefore, shown himself as a true disciple of Galileo Galilei who paid for his courage – which I hope Mark will not have to do.

      • Don Roberto says:

        Galileo was actually wrong, i.e., he had not proven heliocentricity. And he was wrong to stick his nose into theology. And very wrong to humiliate the pope, who had been his firend. His arrogance was his downfall.

        I agree with the rest of your comment.

      • Clifton Chadwick says:

        Even though a large number of people tried to give Mark the "larry Summers treatment," they apparently failed.
        That is the good news

    6. SeattleRobin says:

      The internal audit conducted at Social Science Research concluded that Regnerus's study was flawed and never should have been published. More to the point in regards to what is stated in the article above, the peer review process also came under criticism as failing.

      Namely that the people being referred to here: "Three researchers published responses to Regnerus’s work in the same journal issue, and each credited his study with advancing inquiry on the subject." – had conflicts of interest.

      It's also important to point out that only two of the over 200 respondents classified as being raised by gay/lesbian parents in the study were actually raised in a home headed by a lesbian couple. All the others either spent no time at all being raised by gay parents, or only relatively short periods. That is because the majority of the respondents classified as having gay parents were from failed heterosexual marriages, and should have been categorized in the divorced or single parent categories in most cases for the statistical comparisons.

      • The article's title is: "How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study". I think even a person with a gay parent who was part of a failed heterosexual marriage is still a person with a parent who had a same-sex relationship.

    7. Michael says:

      If they did ten studies by independent reseachers on 7 continents and came up with the same findings you would still be sayng the same things. You probably won't admit to your own personal conflict of interest. Don't worry about. The truth will come out eventually. If enough people do studies.
      Go back to your lives.

    8. bamby says:

      dont care i know for fact what hapend to kifs that have gay/lesbian parents and it is not good you want to be gay find is your option but marrige is a God comand for man and womans thas why you get married because you want to do the right thing if front of God if not you can stay just living with tour partner…family is a woman a man and kids botton line

    9. Brian Perry says:

      Thank God he was exonerated. Just like the pharisees in Jesus' day, some people hate to hear about the truth and rather cover their ears and throw people off a cliff.

    10. Steve Skeete says:

      Science is supposed to be a search for truth which is dynamic and self correcting. Someone does a study or comes up with a theory using accepted methodology. This is challenged by someone else who points out weaknesses and/or flaws. The initial researcher in response either abandons his original theory or deals with the short-comings highlighted by the other, all in the interest of truth. It is clear to all that any study which appears to present homosexuality in a negative light will not be readily accepted by those who have seriously invested in an alternative message. However, "truth" must be allowed to win out over propaganda and agendas. It works in other areas of science, and were it not for the the "culture battles" raging across the USA, it would probably work in the social sciences as well. If the Regnerus Study is flawed, biased and hence invalid, this charge should be supported scientifically, and then let the chips fall where they may. However, seeking to hound someone out of his work and livelihood to maintain a social agenda is not scientific. Name-calling, and allegations are not science and only serves to silence dialogue. Bring the facts and let the discussion on homosexuality continue.

    11. Luis says:

      How can a Woman take the place of a father, and a man take the place of a mother !! God Forbid ! I can see that there would be confusion in the childs mind. Especially when he attends school and people talk behind his/hers back. Why put a child through all of this. I used to live across the street form a Lesbian couple that had a girl and our children knew her and talked to her about it and she was embarrassed , but she mentioned that she didn't have any choice until she got 18. Oh Well, life go on until it ends, and then we will know in the after life who was right !!!

    12. Van says:

      So the researchers of the Regnerus study were "paid" by somebody. I've never heard of ANY researcher or peer reviewer who worked on a voluntary basis. The worst part is not that they were paid, but that almost without exception their salaries are funded by taxpayer money in whole or in part.

    13. Alan Dodd says:

      Reading all of the predictable responses, "Me thinks he doth protest too much," is in order. After a while one wonders whom they are trying to convince, others or themselves. Without a doubt in those quiet moments, in the deep recesses of their minds and hearts, they have doubts about their choices.

      Yes, they may shut everyone up by using the accusations of "hate speech," "bigotry," and even court rulings, but it will never change peoples minds from believing that gays are not normal. It is not religion, or society, or conditioning, it is simple biology.

      But they cannot quit their relentless attack because it keeps them from facing the reality of their abnormality. If they have to face it and admit the truth, then they would either have to do something about it or retreat from normal society. Some, have in fact done such. The probable response to this is also predictable.

    14. John Gallion says:

      Strange how the tables have turned. 500 years ago, many of the accusations and vitriol being hurled at Mark Regnerus and his study would have been worthy of the Cathollic Church's attacks against the likes of Galileo and others who dared challenge the prevailing paradigms and dogmas of the day. The facts are not important to these accusers. They want to exonerate their lifestyle regardless of the facts and are willing to destroy anyone who dares disagree with them or show their lifestyle choice in a negative light. Facts and truth are irrelevant. Homofascists = disgusting and dangerous.

    15. jrlevine says:

      It is outrageous that a journal with as much prestige as the Chronicle of Higher Education would publish as poorly researched and homophobic a 'study' as the one by University of Texas professor of Sociology Mark Regnerus funded entirely by the homophobic right wing groups Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation. Regnerus has an obvious agenda and his methods are not scientific. UT is apparently so afraid of pissing off the conservative Texas legislature and losing funding that they have decided against an investigation into the obviously flawed study purporting to prove that children of gay parents are damaged by the experience. Bigoted groups all over the world are now using this 'study' to convince judges to take children away from their gay parents. Shame on the University of Texas for refusing to audit the 'study'. Shame on the Chronicle of Higher Education for publishing it and shame on Mark Regnerus for accepting an unprecedented three quarters of a million dollars to cherry pick candidates in order to conduct this sham of a 'study'.

      • Randy Kelley says:

        You show you or anyone "using" the study may not have read it appropriately. It appeared the BIGGEST finding was that the studies preceding it were FLAWED much more than any level of the Regenerus study.

        The findings I saw were qualified appropriately for anyone interested in actually reading the study for an understanding of his intent, which appeared to me to be complete utter transparency.

    16. Alan Dodd says:

      Reading all of the predictable responses, "Me thinks he doth protest too much," is in order. After a while one wonders whom they are trying to convince, others or themselves. Without a doubt in those quiet moments, in the deep recesses of their minds and hearts, they have doubts about their choices.

    17. Barry says:

      Sounds like Global Warmists on the attack. Until they are completely discredited, the politically correct crowd will continue to undermine society.

    18. P-sd says:

      All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves

    19. Beth says:

      Part One…
      My personal experience is not scientific in terms of sampling requirements, however, it interestingly correlates with Regnerus's study and comments posted here from professional counselors.

      As an educator, I knew of two students being raised in homes headed by gay parents. In one case, an eleven-year-old girl lived with her father who welcomed a stream of male lovers into the home. One can only conclude that her home openly addressed sex to the point that she was an expert on sexual matters far beyond the normal matters discussed by adults. Even in 3rd grade, she shocked teachers w/sexual comments, and in her later years she related to boys in an openly sexual manner.

      The second student was born of a white mother and black father. The father disappeared from her life, and her mother openly lived with a lesbian partner. The girl expressed serious conflicts of identity that involved both the gay and racial components of her life. She most likely was impacted, too, by the absent father.

    20. Beth says:

      Part two…
      Personally, a neighbor has adopted a son. Subsequent to his adoption, she welcomed a gay lover into the home. She has made attempts to involve several men in her son's life, including a divorce man w/his daughter and the Big Brothers program. However, the young boy evidences serious emotional problems at school. Knowing the family for several years, I can't help but question the impact of his mother's lifestyle on her son's formation of identify and self-confidence. In essence, as a male, he is being raised by two women who do not validate the "maleness" of men in their most intimate relationships.

      I do believe there are children who have positive experiences and outcomes being raised by gay parents. I just have not yet met them. But, there it is. It at least raises the question…shouldn't we be listening to children with open hearts and ears?

      For those who question the Regnerus study, there is a far better response than condemnation or anger…more research. More listening. Using accusations of homophobia and claiming special authority simply on the basis of being gay…these are not constructive options for constructive dialogue.

      • Randy Kelley says:

        Thought patterns and behavior can run in families for multiple reasons including both genetics and environment. Human behavior is much too complex that we should be making it more simple instead of the opposite. Too many options confuse us, just look at the grocery market and how difficult it is to find things with the multitude of choices. Let SIMPLE biology (anatomy) and societal precedence be the guide and not rebellious adolescent infatuation.

    21. haus says:

      I find it hard to believe that all the people accusing the study of being invalid would actually thing a child in elementary, middle, high school with two dads or two moms could possibly not be the subject of taunting, mocking, bullying. They don't seem to consider the child that they are forcing into this arrangement. They can offer all the love that they can, but this is still going to be an issue for the child. Pretty silly to think otherwise!

      • Randy Kelley says:

        And it's interesting that "those people" would also be the ones that want "special bullying" processes implemented instead of good fully representative processes that deal with all types of bullying and educate all those involved, including the GUARDIANS as you have proposed.

    22. Jennifer Bobic says:

      Many of the critics of this study are, unfortunately, just as biased as they proclaim Dr. Regnerus to be. To those of you who accuse him of bigotry and poor research – if his study had been performed to your satisfaction and still came up with the same conclusions, would you then accept them? Not likely, as it appears that your minds are completely closed to the idea that gay parenting might not be the best thing for children. You can't cry "junk science" every time research comes up with conclusions you do not like. Scientific inquiry is certainly a moving target at times, and new discoveries frequently result in new conclusions. However, I believe that many of you are approaching research in a deductive, rather than inductive way because of your biases. I don't know anything about Mr. Regnerus' social leanings, but I'm sure he would not have been hired at UT were he an idiot. The bottom line is, just because you want research to show that gay parenting is fine and dandy for kids doesn't make it so.

    23. It seems the Gay rights lobby will never cease to complain and try to discredit any study that does not suit their warped perspective of society. To pretend that 2 parents of the same sex can be of “no difference” to normal heterosexual parents seems to me both perverse and blind.

    24. Richard says:

      Why is the gay community so angry all the time when research reflects negative otucomes related to homosexual issues? What is it the gay community would like to hear? The gay population has a real foundational struggle when it comes to their position on homosexuality. First of all, there is inherit bias in their views, as they are not looking out for what is best for society or children, but only their "id" serving selves. A gay would have a tough time to admit anything that relfects negative on their chosen lifestyle because it would contradict a belief they wholeheartedly believe in, homosexuality. Why is it everything is about equality with the gay community when there lifestyle is not a GENDER as recognized by our own government. Sexual orientation implies a decision or choice of lifestyle that is personal and should not be recognized supported by politics in any way. Who you choose to sleep with should remain in your bed or your closet but not in society's home.

    25. David says:

      There is a problem with homosexual studies in that it (like climate change) is so political that it can not get the fair scientific evaluation that it deserves. Whenever scientific studies come out which sees homosexuality and it's related activites like marriage and adoption as unhealthy, there is this charge that all the scientist who made this finding are nothing but paid stoodges. When scientific studies publish that homosexuality is fine, we never hear of such charges. We can't disentangle the facts of how politically charged the issue is not to mention that we seem to have discredited nature on it's face coming to the false conclusion that man can not determine right from wrong without some scientfic panel. Never the less, I applaud the panels courage to be scientifically honest and the author of this report for her courage as well. Let science prevail.

    26. Dennis Luke says:

      It seems to be the concensus that the study is flawed and biased. This should only lead to further discussion and an even more unbiased, unflawed, totally open and objective research on this topic. The research is supposed to advance inquiry on the subject which means keeping an open mind. It would suggest that someone else should begin a new research study that does everything right and nothing wrong and should correct everything that Regnerus's study did in the wrong way. It should also be done without bias and without one's world view getting in the way.

    27. Jen says:

      It's not politically correct to speak the truth today if it finds fault with popular ideas.

      Different inputs will create different outcomes. Different doesn't mean wrong, it means 'not the same'.

    28. guest says:

      i'm sure the reason the review board was paid was because that's what was needed to get an honest assessment from academia

    29. David says:

      It's really ridiculous how gay activists attack this study, while they don't say anything about the complete bias and unscientific procedures in the large amount of studies they claim have shown that children have no negative effect from gay parenting. It just shows that mainstream gay analysis of science is worthless.

    30. Shawna Roberts says:

      "The study found some negative outcomes for children of parents who had same-sex relationships when compared to those in intact biological families."

      The study did not do this at all. The problem with the study is not what the study did, but what anti-LGBT-rights people are saying it did. It measured the relative negative effects of various things on children from broken homes.

    31. Isaac says:

      May God protect those who have the 'audacity' to have an opinion contrary to this godless society. And a thank you to all who will speak up when their creditability and standing in their area of expertise is at stake simply because of their belief in the true God.

      • Marvin Keith says:

        To which true God do you refer? Here is the fundamental fallacy in all of the discussions and findings. The words mean different things to each "side" and thereby confuse the issue. The facts rest with the children on both sides and include the question of their future parenting skills and successes. Has anyone studied this and reported honestly? I doubt the possibility. Parenting is an inexact science with astonishing successes as our civilty and academic progress proves.

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