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Regnerus Editor James Wright a Worse Scumbag than Imagined

UCF_Seal.svgVia a request to the University of Central Florida, this reporter obtained Regnerus editor James Wright’s Affidavit and Deposition in John M. Becker’s suit against the University for release of communications related to Regnerus’s anti-gay junk science.

The anti-gay junk science packages that Wright published in June and November of 2012 in Elsevier’s journal “Social Science Research” have been used to obtain anti-gay-rights decisions in courts in Hawaii and Nevada. Additionally, they have been used as anti-gay cudgels in countries as far-flung as Belize and Nigeria. In Russia, they have been used to hate-monger against gays to the public and to get severe anti-gay legislation passed.

One of the most astonishing confessions in Wright’s deposition is that on average, he spends just three to four hours per week working on “Social Science Research.”

Here is what makes that so astonishing. In June, 2012, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent Wright and his editorial board a letter expressing concerns about the intellectual integrity of both the Regnerus paper and a simultaneously published paper by the anti-gay Mormon Loren Marks. That same letter expressed concerns about the suspicious rushed circumstances of publication for the papers.

In response, Wright had his editorial board member Darren Sherkat conduct a sham audit of the circumstances of publication of the anti-gay junk science papers. It was a foregone conclusion that Sherkat would not hold Wright accountable for his gross editorial misconduct.

Subsequently, we have documented that not a single one of the peer reviewers of the Regnerus or Marks papers is trained or experienced in LGBT sciences. Many of the peer reviewers have very serious conflicts of interest

In the audit, Sherkat’s primary defense of Wright involves how hard a science journal editor has to work to assemble peer reviewers for any given paper.

Yet in a sworn deposition, Wright told attorneys – and therefore, a court – that on average, he spends just three to four hours working on “Social Science Research.” Obviously, our hearts should bleed for the poor little overburdened James Wright. How could one possibly expect him to spend more than three to four hours in a week, locating LGBT-sciences experienced scholars to peer review papers about gay-headed families? (Instead of relying — as he did — on very-quickly-located non-experts and known political gay-bashers with conflicts of interest with both Regnerus and his funders?)

Mark Regnerus- hired by the anti-gay groups to do a "scientific" hit piece.

Mark Regnerus- hired by the anti-gay groups to do a “scientific” hit piece.

Becker’s case is focused primarily on the Regnerus paper. Yet in reality, the Regnerus paper is used along with the simultaneously-published Marks paper as an anti-gay cudgel. The Marks  — a qualitative research paper – disingenuously and fraudulently seeks to undermine all prior studies that have results favorable to gay parents. The Regnerus – a quantitative research paper – fraudulently alleges to be superior to all prior studies of gay parents’ child outcomes. (In reality, Regnerus’s data do not allow anybody to determine whether any of Regnerus’s respondents had a gay parent).

In his Affidavit, Wright states that “Social Science Research” is a quantitative research journal. How did Marks’ qualitative paper get published in a quantitative journal? Was it the mere force of destiny that the Marks — paired with the Regnerus for use as an anti-gay cudgel — happened to sneak its way into Wright’s quantitative research journal?

Or could Wright’s gay-bashing crony Wilcox have had something to do with the publishing anomaly?

Dr. Eric Anderson, a sociologist concerned about irregularities in the publishing of the Marks, Regnerus and associated papers, conducted an experiment with James Wright. He wrote a very serious-minded qualitative research paper. When he submitted it to Wright, Wright did a “desk reject” of the paper, and provided the explanation that “Social Science Research” doesn’t publish any qualitative research.

So the question would be, exactly how did Marks’ qualitative research paper come to be simultaneously published with the Regnerus paper, in a journal that otherwise does not publish any qualitative research papers?

In his deposition, Wright refused to answer any questions about communications he might have had with Regnerus about the anti-gay propaganda papers prior to Regnerus actually submitting his paper. Becker’s attorneys posed the question, but the University’s attorney told Wright not to answer it. Meanwhile, though, we know that Regnerus’s funding agency representative Brad Wilcox – who also is one of Wright’s editorial board members – steered the “New Family Structures Study” papers to “Social Science Research.” In his Affidavit, Wright confesses that “Along with the SSR Journal’s Editorial Board, I coordinated the submission of Dr. Regnerus’ paper to and through Elsevier’s single-blind peer-review process.”

How very, very interesting that Wright coordinated Regnerus’s submission “along with the SSR Journal’s Editorial Board,” given that Regnerus’s funding agency representative Brad Wilcox is on that editorial board.

One more thing that shows what a scumbag James Wright is. When documentation was had showing that Witherspoon, Wilcox and Regnerus intended the New Family Structures Study to be used as a weapon against gay people in the courts, Wright alleged to The American Independent that he had no idea of that. (Honk a clown horn, please). Wright said that marriage and adoption rights for LGBTers are a legal question, and that he “resents” having social science data and research drawn into such debates.

Yet, in his deposition and affidavit, Wright confesses that he is on the board of the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. The Horowitz Foundation exists to make grants to sociologists who expressly wish for their work to impact public policy. Public policy is always a legal question. Without a policy set in civil law, a policy isn’t a public policy at all.

I e-mailed Wright, asking how he reconciles the quote he gave to The American Independent about Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon, with the mission of the Horowitz Foundation for Public Policy, where he is on the board. As of publication time, Wright had not responded.



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4 Responses to Regnerus Editor James Wright a Worse Scumbag than Imagined

  1. Sir Andrew

    September 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Oops, Scott. I didn’t notice that you’d written this and thought it was Sei. Thus the ‘My dear.’ It can still apply to you, but I don’t know you. Sorry for being so familiar.

  2. Sir Andrew

    September 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    My dear,
    You mention that this horror report was used to obtain an antigay ruling in Hawaii.

    I’m in Hawaii and I know of no such ruling, and though I’ve retired as a GLBT reporter, I still try to keep my nose in the business of gay news. I’m not disputing you; I just don’t know of this ruling and am curious. Can you send me a citation?

    • Scott Rose

      September 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      The Hawaii case that made use of Regnerus is Jackson v. Abercrombie; the decision is at this link:

  3. Jay

    September 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Scott Rose, please don’t hold your breath waiting for a response from this scumbag. These people who colluded on the junk science you rightly label the “Regnerus hoax” have no integrity at all.