UPDATED: The researcher who touts anti-gay parenting study on the witness stand

University of Texas slaps down its own professor over faulty research

DETROIT -- Mark Regnerus, who published a roundly discredited anti-gay parenting study in 2012, took the stand today in the federal trial challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Regnerus’ testimony draws largely from his study, which was plagued by flawed methodology and numerous conflicts of interest, and alleges that children of same-sex couples experience more adverse outcomes than children raised by opposite-sex parents. The American Sociological Association and hundreds of Regnerus’ fellow scholars were quick to dismantle the report because of its glaring flaws.

As a result of the numerous conflicts of interest and flaws surrounding the study, the plaintiffs in the Michigan case had previously asked for Regnerus to be barred from testifying as an expert witness.

“Mark Regnerus’ testimony today in this trial is, in many ways, a culmination of exactly what the anti-gay funders of his work intended when they conceived the New Family Structures study,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Ellen Kahn, M.S.S. “Make no mistake about it – Regnerus is not offering valid, scientific data. In fact, his study is a clear outlier among 30 years worth of social science that suggest children thrive equally well in two parent households, regardless of the genders of their parents. He is simply carrying out the harmful rhetoric of organizations that seek to demonize LGBT people and their families.”

According to reports from the courtroom today, provided by the Detroit Free Press, Regnerus again stated that he believed marriage was between one man and one woman. He also admitted that the report’s chief funder, the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, wanted the study completed before the U.S. Supreme Court took up marriage equality. That’s a reference to a remark from Witherspoon President Luiz Tellez. That exchange, as well as many other examples of the conflicts of interest surrounding the report, is available at HRC’s Regnerus Fallout website. Through the Regnerus Fallout site, HRC continues to track the study’s funding and flaws, as well as calling out where it is cited in new court cases around the country.

University of Texas comments on professor Regnerus

On the same day at Regnerus testified in Michigan, he got a slap-down from Christine L. Williams, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is employed.

The statement reads:

Like all faculty, Dr. Regnerus has the right to pursue his areas of research and express his point of view. However, Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the Sociology Department of The University of Texas at Austin. Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds and that findings from Dr. Regnerus’ work have been cited inappropriately in efforts to diminish the civil rights and legitimacy of LBGTQ partners and their families. We encourage society as a whole to evaluate his claims.

The Sociology Department at The University of Texas at Austin aspires to achieve academic excellence in research, teaching, and public service at the highest level in our discipline. We strive to do so in a context that is based on the highest ethical standards of our discipline and in a context that actively promotes and supports diversity among our faculty and student populations.

The Sociology Department resides in the College of Liberal Arts, which has issued a statement regarding Dr. Regnerus.

The Sociology Department has no affiliation with the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

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In two other cases involving gay marriage, the American Sociological Association (ASA) filed an amicus brief with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver today supporting the fight to overturn gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma and continuing its now 13-month effort to highlight the overwhelming body of social science research that confirms “children fare just as well” when same-sex or heterosexual parents raise them.

The ASA research shoots down anti-gay briefs and testimony of so-called "expert" witnessess like Mark Regnerus, who has admitted that he is against gay marriage and that his research was funded by anti-gay groups.

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