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Disgraced Researcher on Gay Marriage Accused of Lying about Funding

Not only does it appear that UCLA grad student Michael LaCour lied about the results of his study on how easy it is to change minds on gay marriage, but it also appears he falsified data on his CV.

With much ballyhoo, Science journal published a paper by LaCour and his colleague, Professor Donald Green of Columbia University, which showed that opponents of gay marriage could not only have their minds changed after a 20-minute scripted conversation, but that their minds stayed changed over time.

The mainstream and advocacy media celebrated the results. After all, this fit into the narrative that Americans are eager to support “marriage equality,” and even opponents can be persuaded if they meet an earnest gay man face to face.

Turns out, it all appears to be a fraud. The grad student allegedly faked the data and later said he accidentally deleted it from his computer. His colleague hastily wrote to Science, stating the paper was a phony.

Now it comes to light that LaCour allegedly lied about funding sources for his now-disgraced study. He claimed he received funding for his paper from the Ford Foundation, the Williams Institute at UCLA, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Each institution now denies ever funding LaCour or his study.

Jesse Singal, writing in New York magazine’s Science of Us reported Tuesday that another funding claim on LaCour’s CV is also phony. LaCour said he received $160,000 from the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. The foundation reportedly told Singal they had not funded LaCour at all.

One of the odd angles of the media narrative is the comparison between Michael LaCour’s alleged fraud and the authenticated research of Mark Regnerus, who has become a punching bag for advocates of same-sex marriage.

Regnerus published the largest-ever analysis of children raised by LGBTs compared to those raised by single moms and those raised by their biological mother and father. His study showed that across a whole host of measurements, the children raised by two men or two women in a same-sex relationship fared far worse in life than those raised by the children’s biological mother and father. Despite an ongoing assault on his methods and findings, Regnerus’s study has never been retracted by the peer-reviewed publication that published it. What’s more, even though his university carried out an investigation, both his methods and findings were given a clean bill of health, even by those who support gay marriage.

Matthew Franck, writing at First Things, says any comparison between the two studies and the two researchers is entirely specious. One study was “the first ever research, using a nationally representative sample, on the young-adult outcomes for kids raised by people who have same-sex romantic relationships.” The other reportedly was a fraud. No comparison.

 Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse.

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