Author of Discredited Anti-Gay Study to Speak at NOM Affiliate Conference
Mark Regnerus, the author of a widely discredited 2012 study purporting to show that same-sex parents are bad for children, will be speaking this weekend at a conference sponsored by the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Geared toward college students, the annual It Takes a Family (ITAF) conference addresses issues like marriage (should be heterosexual), family (should also be heterosexual), and sex (heterosexual and should ideally not take place outside of marriage).
Today, in the summer issue of its Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center released an interview with Dr. Darren Sherkat, professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University and board member of the respected peer-reviewed journal Social Science Research, which published Regnerus’ study. Sherkat was charged with auditing the study’s publication process. He came to the same conclusions that scores of other sociologists and social scientists have: The Regnerus study is severely flawed and should not have been published.
Regardless, the study was immediately trumpeted by anti-gay groups and has been used as a tool in anti-gay battles against marriage equality. The day after its publication, for example, the American College of Pediatricians (a tiny anti-gay breakaway group from the American Academy of Pediatrics) cited it in an amicus brief for a court case in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. In the firestorm the followed the study’s publication, questions arose about the timing of its release, and there is information to suggest that Regnerus was actually recruited by the Witherspoon Institute, an influential conservative think tank that opposes marriage equality, to produce the study (the Institute granted Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, nearly $700,000). Correspondence between the Institute’s president and donors seems to indicate that the president clearly expected results unfavorable to marriage equality.