ACTION ALERT — FURTHER DOWN IN THIS STORY!
YOU WILL BE INSTRUCTED ON HOW TO E-MAIL AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL SOCIETY PRESIDENT –
DR. ERIC OLIN WRIGHT
A study allegedly — but not actually — on gay parents’ child outcomes — with funding linked to NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, of at least $785,000 — was carried out by the University of Texas at Austin’s Mark Regnerus.
The study falsely alleges that there is a correlation between gay parents and bad child outcomes.
In an especially dirty trick with NOM’s fingerprints all over it, the study falsely alleges a correlation between lesbian mothers, and children suffering sexual victimization at shockingly high rates. NOM is notorious for conflating homosexuals with pedophiles, a known falsehood.
NOM is linked to the Witherspoon Foundation through, among others; 1) NOM head Robert George, a Witherspoon senior fellow; and 2) Witherspoon president Luis Tellez, a NOM board member.
Both Witherspoon and NOM have been using the invalid Regnerus study as a weapon against gay human beings, both in politics and the courts.
Mark Regnerus is a member of the American Sociological Association (ASA), which has not yet taken any actions against him, despite his manifest multiple violations of the ASA’s Code of Ethics.
The ASA need make no ethics determinations about Regnerus, in order to file appropriate, science-based amicus briefs in response to the Regnerus “study” having been used as an anti-gay weapon in multiple venues.
Notably in the Golinski-DOMA case, now headed for the Supreme Court, the gay-bashing enemy has relied on the invalid Regnerus ‘study’ in its filings, yet the ASA is sitting on folded hands, as though the Regnerus study were a good faith scientific effort rather than commissioned anti-gay hate speech.
The Regnerus study makes an invalid comparison between its test group and its control group. For this reason alone, the study is invalid.
Regnerus cherry-picked a control group of young adult children of continuously married heterosexual couples, and compared them in his study analysis and conclusions to young adult children from a hodgepodge of domestic situations, principally divorced opposite sex couples, whom Regnerus improperly labeled as “lesbian mothers” and/or “gay fathers.”
If you have not been following this story, and need further analysis of what makes the Regnerus study invalid, go here. Understand, additionally, that this reporter interviewed sociologists from top universities including Harvard, Yale and Princeton. I asked “Are there any well-regarded sociological studies that use a test-group, control-group comparison equally inappropriate as that seen in the Regnerus study?” All of the experts I interviewed told me that a study with such a test-group, control-group comparison would not be considered valid, still less well-regarded.
Over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent a letter to the journal that published Regnerus — Social Science Research — complaining of the study’s lack of intellectual integrity and of the suspicious circumstances under which it was published. Their letter included this: “there are substantial concerns about the merits of this paper, and these concerns should have been identified through a thorough and rigorous peer review process.”
It now has been documented that there was no thorough and rigorous peer review process prior to publication of the Regnerus study.
Social Science Research‘s own published Peer Review Policy says that submissions will be given to peer reviewers with expertise in the topic of the submission, and that when authors submit papers about esoteric topics — such as gay parenting — they can expect to wait “substantially” more than the usual 2 to 3 months for the SSR editor just to locate topic-expert peer reviewers.
By contrast, the Regnerus study was submitted on February 1, 2012 and accepted just 5 1/2 weeks later on March 12; no topic experts had been used in the peer review, and some of the peer reviewers had conflicts of interest, including that some were paid consultants on the Regnerus study. Others have longstanding professional and personal associations with Regnerus. The “audit” of the publication process was not undertaken by an independent outside investigator. Rather, SSR editor-in-chief James Wright had SSR editorial board member Darren Sherkat conduct an “audit” — which found ethically compromised, peer review failure, yet held Wright accountable for exactly nothing. Even though Wright did not seek and then use topic expert peer reviewers, Sherkat says that in Wright’s shoes, he may well have made all the same decisions.
Whatever else may be said about Wright and Sherkat, the proper action now is for the Regnerus study to be retracted from publication. Corrupt peer review is no peer review at all, and certainly not anything that can be called scientifically and ethically appropriate peer review. If the Regnerus study is to be re-published later, it must first be put through ethical and appropriate professional peer review. You may sign a petition demanding for the Regnerus study to be retracted, here.
THE FURTHER ACTION ALERT IS BELOW!
Ethics complaints have been presented to the American Sociological Association against Regnerus, Wright, Sherkat and Paul Amato, who as a paid study consultant dubiously but very enthusiastically endorsed Regnerus’s inappropriate and inadequate study design, in a commentary published alongside the Regnerus study.
NOM leaders rely on Amato’s questionable stamp-of-approval when they use the Regnerus study as a weapon against gays.
Though the ASA’s Dr. Sally Hillsman reports that the ethics complaints are in process, she will not provide even an estimated timetable for the processing of the complaints.
Meanwhile, the American Sociological Association need not reach any ethical judgments concerning Regnerus, before filing science based briefs rebutting the fraudulent claims made about, and/or in the Regnerus study, where the Regnerus study is being used as a defamatory weapon against gay people in the courts.
Eric Olin Wright is current president of the American Sociological Association.
Approached this summer about producing American Sociological Association amicus briefs in the Regnerus matter, Wright first said words to the effect that he could not be bothered.
Pressured, he said that if section heads under him in the ASA were to express some interest in producing ASA Regnerus-related briefs, perhaps he could begin to think about organizing for the production of such briefs. Since that time, there is no direct evidence that the American Sociological Association has lifted a finger to counter the scientific illegitimacy of its member Mark Regnerus’s NOM-linked funded “study” on “gay parenting.”
THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION
Wright must now be pressured, promptly to produce appropriate American Sociological Association amicus briefs where Regnerus has been used in the courts as a defamatory weapon against gay people, including in the Golinski case, and in Jackson v. Hawaii.
Wright’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a suggested message to him. If you compose your own message, please consider making it firm, direct and businesslike.
Before proceeding to the sample message to Wright, though, you should be aware that along with the American Medical Association, a total of eight professional associations filed a Golinski amicus brief, detailing how a previous Golinski case brief from the American College of Pediatricians — a far right religious splinter group — had misrepresented what the Regnerus study says, and then going beyond that, to analyze the Regnerus study as invalid. The AMA brief says:
“The Regnerus study placed participants (individuals between the age of 18 and 39) into one of eight categories, six of which were defined by the family structure in which they grew up — e.g., married biological parents, divorced parent, divorced but remarried parent, etc. There was no category for “same-sex couple.” Instead, the final two categories included all participants, regardless of family structure, who believed that at some time between birth and their 18th birthday their mother or their father “ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” Hence the data does not show whether the perceived romantic relationship ever in fact occurred; nor whether the parent self-identified as gay or lesbian; nor whether the same sex relationship was continuous, episodic, or one-time only; nor whether the individual in these categories was actually raised by a homosexual parent (children of gay fathers are often raised by their heterosexual mothers following divorce), much less a parent in a long-term relationship with a same-sex partner. Indeed, most of the participants in these groups spent very little, if any, time being raised by a “same-sex couple.” Hence the Regnerus study sheds no light on the parenting of stable, committed same-sex couples.”
While it is admirable that the American Medical Association filed that brief, it is now essential for the American Sociological Association to file amicus briefs.
Regnerus — an ASA member — alleges that his study — (now being very aggressively used as an anti-gay-rights weapon by his NOM-linked funders) — is the best that sociology has to offer and to say about gay parents’ child outcomes.
However, given our knowledge that 1) the Regnerus study was published through corrupt peer review; and that 2) no sociologist without conflicts of interest with Regnerus will vouch for the validity of the Regnerus study’s test-group/control-group comparison; and that 3) Regnerus appears to be in collusion with his funders and with third parties hostile to gay people — in the communication to the public of multiple, documentable untruths about what his study says, in contexts of expression hostile to gay people, and in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics;
There is just no excuse for the American Sociological Association not to treat this situation as a red hot emergency, and to promptly produce appropriate amicus briefs related to the Regnerus study.
Here then, is a suggested message for you to e-mail to ASA President Erik Olin Wright: (email@example.com)
You can copy the message right from this post, and then paste it into an e-mail to Dr. Wright.
Be certain to get as many of your friends as possible to e-mail Wright also.
Dear American Sociological Association President Wright:
With this message, I am requesting that you immediately mobilize the American Sociological Association to produce appropriate amicus briefs to counter the falsehoods and anti-gay defamation promulgated in a study by ASA member Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin.
As you know, distortions of scientific records all too often have been used as social and political weapons against minorities.
Regnerus produced a profoundly dubious study, that is allegedly, but not actually on gay parents’ child outcomes. Regnerus’s work, published June 10, 2012 in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research, is titled How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.
I believe that you are already acquainted with the widely-disseminated, strictly science-based analyses of Regnerus’s study. I understand that top sociologists without conflicts of interest with Regnerus are in agreement that the inappropriate comparison Regnerus makes between his test-group and his control-group renders his study invalid. To express my concerns in the form of a Socratic question, can you — as President of the American Sociological Association — name ten well-regarded sociological studies whose test-group/control-group comparisons are equal in their inappropriateness to that seen in the Regnerus study?
Regnerus very strongly appears to be in collusion with his study’s funders and with third parties to demonize gay people both with his study, and with gross misrepresentations of what his study says.
For example, Regnerus contacted Robert Oscar Lopez after seeing Lopez’s anti-gay-rights comments in support of the Regnerus study online.
Regnerus then engaged in correspondence with Lopez. Shortly thereafter, Regnerus’s National Organization for Marriage-linked funders at The Witherspoon Institute published an essay by Lopez. Lopez grossly misrepresents what the Regnerus study says, even as he mentions within his essay that Regnerus contacted him first to engage in correspondence about the study and “LGBT issues.” Immediately after The Witherspoon Institute published Lopez’s essay, the essay was cross-posted to the NOM blog, and to The National Review website by NOM official Maggie Gallagher.
In that, Regnerus appears to be in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.
Though Regnerus contacted Lopez first, conducted correspondence about his study with him, and Regnerus’s funders then widely disseminated the Lopez essay — with its multiple gross inaccuracies about the Regnerus study — Regnerus has done nothing whatsoever to correct the gross inaccuracies about his study being publicized by his study’s funders.
Here is what the ASA’s Code of Ethics, Section 10, on Public Communications says in its preamble:
“Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”
I want to share a story with you, Dr. Wright, about victims of Regnerus’s “study.”
A family comprised of two lesbian mothers and their three adopted children live in a suburban area. They previously had very friendly relationships with all of their neighbors. Two neighbor families, however, heard on the news that Regnerus had “proven” that children of lesbian mothers suffer dramatically higher rates of sexual victimization. Now, those two family neighbors do not permit their children to play with the lesbian mothers’ kids, nor will they even talk with any member of the family under any circumstances.
Dr. Wright; as president of the American Sociological Association, you have a moral duty immediately to organize the effort to produce appropriate Regnerus-related amicus briefs.
Many advanced thanks for your attention to this matter.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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