A University of Texas sociologist is being investigated for scientific
“misconduct,” after angering gay activists with research suggesting
children raised by same-sex couples have more problems as adults.
Mark Regnerus defended his June 2012 findings in an e-mail to the
Austin American-Statesman newspaper, saying he worked with a team of
“leading family researchers” from “across disciplines and ideological
lines” to develop a protocol approved by the university's review board.
the university promoted Regnerus' study as a “particularly significant”
source of information on outcomes in same-sex parenting. It showed that
adult children of same-sex households tend to have lower incomes, more
physical and mental problems, less stable relationships and higher crime
Published in the Social Science Research journal, the
work was criticized by homosexual advocates. The university has now
convened a panel to investigate Regnerus' alleged “misconduct,” a
category including false or plagiarized work as well as “practices that
seriously deviate from ethical standards.”
A July 11 article in
the Austin American-Statesman indicated that one of Regnerus' fiercest
critics, Scott Rosensweig of the “New Civil Rights Movement” blog, may
have played a leading role in the university's decision to investigate.
blogger, who writes for the gay activist site under the name “Scott
Rose,” accused Regnerus of ethical violations in a June 21 letter to
University of Texas President Bill Powers.
Rosensweig told the
president that Regnerus' study was “designed so as to be guaranteed to
make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and
He also claimed that Regnerus, who got funding from
the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation for his work, had
done the research with “money from an anti-gay political organization.”
university says it will conclude the investigation within two months
and make a decision based on its findings. Regnerus did not respond to a
request for comment on the inquiry.
In a June 2012 interview, the sociologist told EWTN News that he approached the research on gay parenting with an open mind.
had no idea what the data would reveal,” he said, “but it's revealed
far greater instability in the households of parents who've had same-sex
His findings, he said, should be evaluated by
the standards of “normal science,” not ideology. He described the
criticisms being leveled as “disproportionate to the study's
limitations,” which could be legitimately critiqued.
addressed other criticisms in a series of blog posts that accompanied
the publication of his findings. The conservative Witherspoon Institute,
he said, “had nothing to do with the study design, or with the data
analyses, or interpretations, or the publication of the study.”
sociologist also said his Catholic beliefs did not compromise the
research. “There’s no 'Christian' approach to sampling or 'Catholic' way
of crunching numbers,” he remarked.
methodologist, data manager, and statistician can locate the same
patterns I reported. Others may ask different questions, or follow
different decision rules on measures. But that’s normal science.”