TWO reader Scott Rose discovered an interesting tidbit: The editor of the journal Social Science Research, which published University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus’ controversial gay parenting hack study, may also be a member of good standing with Team Fundie.
When James D. Wright is not publishing garbage in his “journal,” he pens books like “Covenant Marriage.” For the unfamiliar, these are unions promoted by fundies that make it extremely difficult to get a divorce — even if the spouses are no good together and completely miserable. If this latest discovery does not smell of bias I’m not sure what does.
Let’s put this all in perspective: The study was conducted by Mark Regnerus, a researcher whose tagline is, “liberty run amok can create extraordinary personal disaster.” His work was funded by Witherspoon and Bradley foundations, both of which are intimately affiliated with National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council founder Robert George. And it was published in a journal whose editor authored the book “Covenant Marriage.”
Was there a snowball’s chance in hell that this study would have even one positive thing to say about gay parents?
UPDATE: A study by Wright talked about “the threat of gay marriage as a potentially destructive inﬂuence on the institution of marriage.” http://www.muskingum.edu/~bking/2010westcoast/Attitudes_Toward_Gay_Marriage.pdf. More proof that this was an agenda-driven hack job.
On another note, Nathaniel Frank, a visiting scholar at Columbia’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, wrote an excellent piece on the gay parenting quack study. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Los Angeles Times:
A study released this week suggests that, contrary to what years of academic research has said, children of gay parents actually fare worse than others….Mark Regnerus says that his study shows stark differences between such children and those with gay parents: the latter are more likely to be unemployed, consider suicide, use drugs, have an STD and fall victim to sexual abuse.
The trouble is, this is not what Regnerus’ study shows. Not by a long shot. And the claims he makes play into a long-standing pattern of conservative scholars and activists misinterpreting the data on LGBT families.
While Regnerus critiques “same-sex couples” raising kids, his study does not actually compare children raised by same-sex couples with those raised by different-sex couples. The criterion it uses is whether a parent “ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” In fact, only a small proportion of its sample spent more than a few years living in a household headed by a same-sex couple…Indeed, the study acknowledges that what it’s really comparing with heterosexual families is not families headed by a same-sex couple but households in which parents broke up…Regnerus is concluding that when families endure a shattering separation, it is likely to shatter the lives of those in them. And this is news?
The trouble is that no scholarly research, including the Regnerus paper, has ever compared children of stable same-sex couples to children of stable different-sex couples, in part because an adequate sample size is hard to come by. (Regnerus acknowledges he was unable to find an adequate sample size, but he went ahead and made the comparison anyway.)
Frank also makes an excellent point on the double standard faced by LGBT parents:
There is a larger point, however, that can be lost in the debate over how to read the data. There is no basis in the recent history of American social policy for testing the parenting skills of a class of citizens before we grant them permission to parent — or to marry. Given all the research on the hardships of children raised by single parents, there is still no movement to preemptively remove kids from broken homes after every divorce or to ban single people from having kids; such policies would be patently inhumane and unenforceable. Growing up in poverty increases the risk of a wide range of social and psychological ills, yet since the craze for eugenics died down, no one is proposing banning poor people from marriage or child rearing. And some ethnic and racial groups are statistically less likely to get or stay married, yet there is no ethnic litmus test for marriage or parenting — only a gay one.
Clearly, this study is a right wing hack job. University of Texas should dismiss Regnerus for academic fraud. Far from a researcher, he has a political agenda and is working hand-in-hand with other like-minded agenda-driven “academics” like J. Wright.