Over the last several months, new revelations have been coming out about Mark Regnerus, the “researcher” who, funded by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, rushed out a laughably flawed study meant to show that children of gay parents fare more poorly than the children of straight parents. Throughout the controversy surrounding the study’s release, Regnerus made every attempt to portray himself as an unbiased scientist. As it turns out, “portray himself” is the apropos phrase, because he’s been suddenly inserting himself into the political discussion, very much from the anti-gay side:
Regnerus’ more recent actions indicate many of his talking points were simply that: talking points.
Since those early days, Regnerus has signed on to a “friend of the court” brief in both gay-marriage cases recently taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the court to uphold California’s ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He has blogged about his skepticism regarding the health of kids raised by gay parents, and he’s signed on to speak at a National Organization for Marriage-affiliated conference dedicated to arming college-age kids with research that opposes gay marriage.
Additionally, it was revealed last month that the study was specifically timed to come out before the major marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court, a cynical attempt by the Religious Right to throw a wrench into fairness, reality and the tide of history. Documents now being released show that Regnerus was basically coached on how to appear unbiased, indeed, how to appear as a scientist with integrity:
Among those documents – which are still being released in chunks – is a document titled “Mark Regnerus Media Training,” which encouraged the professor to focus on the fact that his study was a large, random, nationally representative study, unlike the majority of the existing research on gay parenting. He was told to avoid politics.
Regnerus’ “key points to make” included:
- This study does not ascribe a cause to the effects, it simply reports the data.
- For many years, gay advocates have claimed that there are no meaningful differences between children of same-sex couples and other children. This study shows this not to be true.
- Young adults raised in a same-sex household are [list key findings such as more likely to have considered suicide, etc.].
The training document also listed “points to avoid/hard questions.” Regnerus was encouraged, for example, to avoid stating his opinion of President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.
But if asked about his own opinion on gay marriage, he was instructed to say:
This study is not about same-sex marriage. It does not attempt to assess the differences between those gay couples who have married and those who have not. It is focused on the differences between young adults raised in a same-sex household and those raised in an [sic] intact families.
He was also coached on how to respond to the fact that the study was funded by wingnuts (the Witherspoon Institute), for wingnuts.
The entire piece is illuminating. The Religious Right, which has no respect for science, bought themselves a “study” that was designed to appear thoughtful, intelligent and unbiased. Fortunately, real scientists and journalists spotted the flaws and connections immediately. It’s a bit stunning, though, to see just how much contempt everyone involved has for science and for LGBT people, and just how low they will sink to push their hateful agenda.