Regnerus Testimony Doesn’t Go Well


Mark Regnerus testified as an expert witness in a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and second parent adoption on Tuesday. It didn’t go well. On the same day he testified, his department at UTexas released a statement distancing themselves from his atrocious study. And it didn’t hold up well under cross examination.

The most damning criticism centers on Regnerus’ admission that he deliberately structured his study to compare children whose parents had a same-sex relationship with those who grew up in opposite-sex households undisturbed by separation or divorce.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the case in which U.S. Supreme Court justices struck down a federal law barring recognition, the America Sociological Association charged that Regnerus had stacked the deck by comparing children of intact opposite-sex families with children whose families were distinguished mainly by their instability. In many cases, the association noted, those identified as children of gay or lesbian parents had never even lived with that parent.

Under cross-examination in Friedman’s courtroom Tuesday, Regnerus conceded that more than half of the respondents he classified as children of “gay dads” or “lesbian moms” were the offspring of failed heterosexual marriages, and that only two of the 3,000 respondents he interviewed had been raised by same-sex partners who remained together throughout their childhoods.

Like their peers in stable opposite-sex families, Regnerus conceded, both respondents who grew up in stable same-sex households “looked pretty good” in his study’s measures of adult outcomes.

The sociology department is right to distance themselves from this. It’s a terrible study designed to reach a predetermined conclusion and the data had to be distorted for that purpose. The irony is that most of the children in the study from “gay dads” or “lesbian moms” were actually the product of a marriage where one of the partners was hiding, or denying to themselves and others, their homosexuality. That situation is almost always terrible for everyone involved. And guess what? Letting gay people get married and accepting them as equal is the way to prevent that from happening.

Comments

  1. iknklast says

    Another thing these studies never seem to consider is how much of the disturbance the child suffers comes from society itself. My ex left me to live in a same-sex relationship. My son wasn’t fed a lot of guff, and has little problem with his dad’s relationships. But he was tormented by the children at school. We’re often not controlling for that, or even asking the question: how much of the problem is caused by the definition of it as a problem, and factors outside the family creating tension for the child who is “different”? I got that sort of crap just because my dad raised pigs on his farm.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that studies like Regnerus’s might be creating the very problem they’re trying to solve.

  2. Hatchetfish says

    “I guess what I’m trying to say is that studies like Regnerus’s might be creating the very problem they’re trying to solve.” You’re a lot more charitable than I, thinking Regnerus is trying to solve anything.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Conservative Christians who make the argument they oppose the equal protection rights of gay people for the sake of children also have no moral authority to defend the rights of children in general. Not until they stop abusing and seeking to abuse children by indoctrinating them, lying to them, and promoting a social atmosphere that is anti-education, anti-intellectual, and anti-truth.

  4. says

    @iknklast #1 – “I guess what I’m trying to say is that studies like Regnerus’s might be creating the very problem they’re trying to solve.”

    Except that studies like this one do not set out to solve problems, they set out to create problems, deliberately and willfully. The bullying of children with same-sex parents, and their resulting trauma, may or may not have been Regnerus’s goal, but I doubt very much that he is displeased with the result.

  5. raven says

    Regnerus is a wild eyed fundie xian fanatic and gay hater and makes no secret of it.

    What he produced is deliberate fraud and propaganda and he knows it. It was thought up by a GOP think tank and funded by Witherspoon, a fundie xian foundation.

    Hitchens: Religion poisons everything. He is no longer a sociologist, he is a foot soldier for his sectarian religious beliefs. If he was a scientist, he would have been fired.

    Mark Regnerus:

    We’re not there just yet but the bridge is being built. If gay marriage is perceived as legitimate by heterosexual women, it will eventually embolden boyfriends everywhere, and not a few husbands, to press for what men have always historically wanted but were rarely allowed: sexual novelty, in the form of permission to stray without jeopardizing their primary relationship. Discussion of openness in sexual partners in straight marriages will become more common, just as the practice of heterosexual anal sex got a big boost from the normalization of gay men’s sexual behavior in both contemporary porn and in the American imagination.

    Ed Brayton posted this not too long ago.

    There is no data or proof here. And it is just senseless rambling, driven by hate informed by religious bias. This is not academic scholarship.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Everything going all to hell for the hyperchristians’ favorite sociologist: it’s the REGNERUS RAGNAROK!

  7. otrame says

    From the article linked in the OP:

    In a recent scholarly article, he noted evidence that both heterosexual and homosexual respondents were “more likely to support same-sex marriage after they were exposed to pornography.”

    Reminds me of the study that intended to compare male college students who had seen porn with those who had not. Only they couldn’t find any that hadn’t seen porn.

    But in any case, the implication is that porn turns you into a decent human being? Who knew?

  8. anubisprime says

    Roman Catholic church apparently realise it is defective…but they love it to bits anyway!

    But because they cannot actually defend the actual conclusions they defend the methodology which they compare to other studies…they decline to mention which ones, but the intent is to hint that actually the study was spot on!

  9. says

    …and that only two of the 3,000 respondents he interviewed had been raised by same-sex partners who remained together throughout their childhoods.

    ITS EVEN WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT. LOOK HOW FEW CHILDERN OF GAYHOMO “PARENTS” ARE WILLING TO BE INTERVIEWED ABOUT THEIR TERRIBLE ORDEAL!

  10. coffeehound says

    Regnerus as quoted by Ed as quoted by Raven in #8,

    Discussion of openness in sexual partners in straight marriages will become more common, just as the practice of heterosexual anal sex got a big boost from the normalization of gay men’s sexual behavior in both contemporary porn and in the American imagination.

    of course no citations, but bringing to mind an image of poor beleaguered Regnerus, with his finger in the dike of all that gay sex waiting to crash down on America( itself an odd and disturbing image).

  11. John Pieret says

    From the article, Regnerus’ reaction under cross examination to the disavowal by his own department at UT:

    “It’s regrettable,” he said, looking like the last kid left standing against the schoolhouse wall after his classmates had chosen teams for a pick-up game. “I guess they just want to distance themselves from me.”

    Get used to it, bub. Once you trash your own reputation in science, there’s no getting it back.

  12. cptdoom says

    I was following the live tweeting of Regnerus’ testimony & was struck by the similarity to David Blakenhorn’s testimony in the Prop 8 case, as depicted by Lance Black on his play. Different “experts,” different cases, same result.

    Regarding the UT statement, Regnerus is listed as an ” associate professor” on the university’s web site, implying he has tenure. That means he can’t be fired and the statement released by UT is about as bad as it can get for a tenured professor. Who will want to work with him now?

  13. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ cptdoom : Answer – homophobes, bigots and those ideologically aligned with him. Sadly plenty of those still out there.

  14. leonardschneider says

    Well, if Regnerus gets (rightfully) booted out of UT for producing such terrible “research,” he can always head for Santee, CA and get a job with the Institute for Creation Research. Him and the ICR already have the same mode of study: decide on a conclusion and work backwards, chopping, faking, and altering any information that gets in the way by not pointing to your conclusion.

    (I wonder if “Regnerus” is a Greek word meaning “total dickbag”?)

  15. dingojack says

    leonardschneider – If you want it to. I’d suggest a similar method that raised the profile of ‘santorum’ on the net.
    :) Dingo
    ——–
    Interestingly Google Translate gives ‘regnen’ as Norwegian for the verb ‘to rain’.

  16. colnago80 says

    The statement re Regnerus on the UT Sociology web site reminds one of a similar statement on Lehigh University’s web site re Michael Behe.

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