Gay Marriage: One Study Falls as Another Stands


Gay marriage advocates, including activists, academics, and the media, have been hot to discredit University of Texas social scientist Mark Regnerus ever since his 2012 groundbreaking analysis on the life success of children raised by same-sex couples.

The latest attempt is to compare Regnerus with Michael LaCour, the UCLA researcher who allegedly faked data in his study that purported to show that same-sex marriage opponents could have their minds permanently changed after a twenty-minute scripted visit to their home by a gay man.

Under the headline “Two Same-Sex Marriage Studies, Two Debunkings” in The New York Times this week, Jesse Wegman, asserts that “the Regnerus study is bunk.”

Wegman implies a similarity between the work of LaCour and Regnerus:

One study, published in 2012, claimed to show that children raised by gay parents were at higher risk of all sorts of bad outcomes, from sexual abuse to suicide attempts to STDs.

The other, published late last year, claimed to prove that even a brief face-to-face conversation with a gay canvasser can change the mind of someone opposed to same-sex marriage.

Evidence has surfaced that LaCour likely faked his data. But no one has ever accused Regnerus of faking his data. In fact, he and his data have been thoroughly investigated both by the journal that published it and twice by his own university.

Regnerus was cleared in July 2012: “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.”

Neither the University of Texas that employs him nor the journal that published his work have retracted his study.

The Washington Post reported on a new analysis of the Regnerus data that purports to show no difference in outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents and biological parents. The authors of the study say Regnerus should have “controlled” out same-sex couples whose relationships did not last. Regnerus counters that social scientists can control any study until they get the desired results and that unstable relationships are a fact in most same-sex relationships.

Regnerus says the results of his study hold true:

The parental same-sex relationships reported by adult children are not, on average, long-term ones.

The longer those parental relationships lasted, the better—on average—were the outcomes for adult children.

Very few same-sex relationships lasted the entirety of the respondents’ childhood. Critics cried foul. I cried, “Reality!”

The stability afforded by continuously intact mom-and-dad families pays benefits, on average, well into adulthood. They remain the standard against which all other forms ought to be compared.

Regnerus says, “These conclusions hold true, whether you read my original study, its follow-up, Simon Cheng and Brian Powell’s new analyses, or crunch the numbers yourself.”

Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse.


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