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American Sociological Association May Move Against Regnerus Study Soon

It is becoming obvious that Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin is in some pretty serious trouble for taking $750,000 from the National Organization for Marriage affiliated Witherspoon Institute and then producing an inaccurate, invalid, and academically unsound sociological study aimed at demonizing gay parents.

Regnerus is already in trouble with UT for not getting his study peer reviewed, or at least not properly peer reviewed. He did not have it peer reviewed, of course, because they would have shredded him and the study faster than the LGBT Community did. Making matters worse, the study appears to have been directly commissioned in order so that it could be released in time for the 2012 elections. Most studies of this nature take years to compile and complete. Regnerus did not do that.

So far, eight professional associations including the American Medical Association have gone on record analyzing Regnerus’ study as being invalid. Specifically, they went on record in the Golinski case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. To date, the American Sociological Association has not taken any action regarding it, but that may change.

Scott Rose notes that:

There is precedent for the ASA taking action when one of its members distorts the scientific record to demonize a minority. For example:

“In 1985, the American Sociological Association (ASA) adopted a resolution which asserted that ‘Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism’ and noted that ‘Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research.’ The resolution formally charged an ASA committee with the task of ‘critically evaluating and publicly responding to the work of Dr. Paul Cameron.’ At its August, 1986 meeting, the ASA officially accepted the committee’s report and passed the following resolution: ‘The American Sociological Association officially and publicly states that Paul Cameron is not a sociologist, and condemns his consistent misrepresentation of sociological research’.”

Regnerus has been guilty of using his invalid “findings” to incite the public to misunderstandings about, and discrimination against gay parents. For example, writing in Slate, Regnerus said that his study:

“…may suggest that the household instability that the NFSS reveals is just too common among same-sex couples to take the social gamble of spending significant political and economic capital to esteem and support this new (but tiny) family form while Americans continue to flee the stable, two-parent biological married model, the far more common and accomplished workhorse of the American household, and still—according to the data, at least—the safest place for a kid.”

Philip N. Cohen, a council member for the ASA’s family section stated that:

“It now appears, I am glad to say, that the ASA will do something like submit briefs on this issue to the relevant courts (not just about this article but about the issue more broadly). This is a big deal, which happens rarely — and the suspicion is that it might become relevant in what history will judge as a landmark Supreme Court decision about civil rights.”

Cohen had earlier reported that the ASA was looking into the fact that Regnerus’ study did not support its own conclusions. Regnerus was given $55,000 initially from the Witherspoon Institute as part of a “planning grant” and then he was given the rest of the money as part of creating the study. Both Regnerus and the NOM subsidiary are unwilling to open their communications to be read over by journalists despite several Freedom of Information Act Requests.

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10 Responses to American Sociological Association May Move Against Regnerus Study Soon

  1. StraightGrandmother

    October 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    • Herald

      October 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      @StraightGrandmother thank you for the link, it was enlightening.

      I hope the ASA and others do condemn this “study” as it is being used to hurt and vilify the LGBT community and causes.

  2. Phil in NY

    September 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    You know, for the most part I like your blog and I understand that it’s your “view on the world.” I hope that you are more careful in the future calling someone out as “unethical” without a statement that it is your “opinion” or use of the word “alleged” in your writing. You expose yourself to libel and defamation of character. You don’t want to be tarnished in such a manner.

  3. Phil in NY

    September 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Actually, I am in NY, just using a VPN back to a server in C’bus. At any rate, let’s see how this unfolds. Your choice of words such as “unethical” without the word alleged is problematic to me. Again, you seem very biased. Also, you keep talking about your longevity in academia, are you a student or a faculty member somewhere?

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      September 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Phil,

      I am working on my finial degree right now- an MFA-W. I have an MA in Women’s Studies and History from Goddard College in Vermont (Done under the IMA program). I spent ten years at a school in Georgia studying History and Archaeology until I was forced out due to a combination of homophobia and transphobia. In total, I have spent twenty years pursuing academic degrees, and been part of the internal politics within the schools. Since I do not have enough evidence to prove that I was forced out due to transphobia or homophobia, I do not tend to name that university because I am a decent person in that respect. While I was there, though, there was a scandal involving a professor who accused several students of cheating. I was able to find out that the professor pretty much set the students up and framed them for cheating, but the university didn’t want a scandal to erupt involving their professor, so they squashed everything. I also saw them not discipline or fire a professor who was caught deliberately deflating student’s grades, and another professor who inflated a student’s grades for sexual favors.

      So, yes, most colleges and universities hide their dirty laundry pretty well.

  4. Phil in NY

    September 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I’m looking at Professor Regenerus’s academic training and that seems stellar to me. UNC Chapel Hill is ranked number 5 in the country for Sociology Departments. I know for a fact that to get an article into a journal such as Social Science Research, it had to be peer reviewed. Do you really think that the reviewers purposefully ignored any methodological or statistical short comings?

    I also see that “The University of Texas at Austin has determined that no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research”. See: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/08/29/regnerus_scientific_misconduct_inquiry_completed/

    I don’t see anything on your website that points that out. It’s hard for me to believe that you don’t have an agenda and want to attack any research that doesn’t coincide with your beliefs. Guess what? That’s why we have research!

  5. Phil in NY

    September 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Never mind that the professor may have uncovered some issues that could be taken up by the gay community to improve the family structure, just slam the messenger and ignore the research. Sounds like every sociology class I ever took as an undergrad and graduate student.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      September 3, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Phil,

      As a life long academe, Regnerus broke almost every single ethical code out there. His research was conducted in a manner to provide a specific conclusion. This is not ‘shooting the messenger.’ If he had come to his conclusions through viable, and accurate, methodology, that would be one thing, but he did not. He manipulated his data to come to a conclusion that the people paying him wanted him to come to.

  6. PerpetualStudent

    August 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Regnerus appears to be on a learning curve. And, at $750,000 for a study immediately debunked by the sociology profession, so is NOM.

    Hope they learn quickly. If their supporters could only learn how their donations have been wasted…

    Always something new to learn.