University backs gay parenting author without investigation

The author of a controversial study that claims to show that children do worse in same-sex households has been backed by his employer without even conducting an investigation

University backs gay parenting author without investigation
04 September 2012

The University of Texas has backed the author of a controversial study which claimed that children with gay or lesbian parents fared worse than other children despite the journal that published it declaring it ‘bulls-t’ not worthy of publication.

The University of Texas backed the conduct of sociologist Mark Regnerus without even conducting a formal investigation.

‘As required by its Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, the university conducted an inquiry to determine whether the accusations made by writer Scott Rose had merit and warranted a formal investigation,’ the University of Texas said in an August 29 statement.

‘After consulting with a four-member advisory panel composed of senior university faculty members, the Office of the Vice President for Research concluded in a report on Aug. 24 that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.

‘As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large. The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.’

The university has now declared the matter ‘closed.’

Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study sampled 3,000 people ages 18-39, of whom 248 said their mothers or fathers had a same-sex relationship while they were growing up

But under the study’s criteria a woman was counted as a lesbian mother if she had ever had a same-sex relationship, regardless of how briefly or whether the child in question had been living in her home at the time.

The study was published by the journal Social Science Research but a member of its editorial board who was assigned to review its methodology found it to be flawed after complaints were made.

‘There should be reflection about a conservative scholar garnering a very large grant from exceptionally conservative foundations to make incendiary arguments about the worthiness of LGBT parents and putting this out in time to politicize it before the 2012 United States presidential election,’ editorial board member Darren Sherkat wrote in his audit.

Sherkat also found three cases of conflicts of interests among its peer reviewers, stating, ‘scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.’

When asked by The Chronicle of Higher Education about the value of the study, Sherkat said, ‘It’s bullsh-t.’

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