Express Delivery: The Regnerus “Gay Parenting” Paper Took The Fast Lane To Publication

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2012

One of the things that a few researchers have commented privately to me about concerning Mark Regnerus’s much-dissected study on so-called gay and lesbian parenting (you can read my dissection here), is the amazing speed with which the paper was submitted, peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the journal Social Science Research. The typical process is measured in months, if not years in some cases. But for Regnerus’s paper, only 41 days passed from the time the manuscript was submitted to the day the editors accepted it for publication. This accomplishment is notably rare for journal publication, and it has left quite a few researchers I’ve talked to scratching their heads.

To be sure, not everything about the paper could be measured in days. Regnerus reported in his paper that the survey firm he hired, Knowledge Networks, had a hard time finding adult children with parents who fit his peculiar definition of being lesbian or gay. One solution was spend more time to keep looking:

Thus in order to boost the number of respondents who reported being adopted or whose parent had a same-sex romantic relationship, the screener survey (which distinguished such respondents) was left in the field for several months between July 2011 and February 2012, enabling existing panelists more time to be screened and new panelists to be added.

Altogether, those extended efforts combined with the originally drawn sample yielded 236 adult children whose mother or father “ever [had] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” Regnerus has, when asked directly, admitted that those numbers are much too small to make adequate comparisons to determine their fitness as parents — even though he nevertheless made those comparisons in his paper. When BTB reader StraightGrandmother pressed him in an email exchange on this point, he responded:

I maxed what Knowledge Networks could do with their panel, and no research firm out there is in a position to generate a larger N. Perhaps I could’ve left it in the field for another year, but that is quite awhile, and wouldn’t have doubled the sample size of LMs or GFs.

I’m not following why he doesn’t believe he couldn’t have significantly increased his sample size if the question had been held open for another year. If it is true that, as he acknowledged, that he was hampered by the difficulty of finding enough people to fit his definitions, then the only statistically relevant solution is to keep looking, and not to construct an arbitrarily heterogeneous category to contrast against a homogeneous one and falsely claim that the comparison is legitimate.

And so why not wait? Why not do the only statistically proper thing to do and hold the question open for a year? We’re talking about a paper that was intended to either validate or destroy 30 years of social science research on gay and lesbian parenting. What’s another year more?

What’s the rush?

And rush is clearly the right word. Just look a this the timeline:

July 2011-February 2012: As Regnerus recounted in his paper and I quoted above, Knowledge Networks, the company which conducted the survey and gathered the raw data, held the data collection process open during this period in order to find enough adult children of “Lesbian Mothers” or “Gay Fathers” (terminology that I always find difficult writing out when one considers how loosely he defined those categories)

February 1, 2012: The article is submitted to Social Science Research for consideration. This date is given on the paper’s front page. If the previous time period he gave for collecting his samples is correct, then he had only days to get the last of his data in, the numbers crunched, and the nineteen-page article completed. That alone is pretty remarkable.

February 29, 2012: The article is revised for publication. This typically occurs due to feedback from peer reviews. Taking only one month for others to review the study, get the feedback back to him and for him to incorporate revisions, again, is a remarkable turnaround.

March 12, 2012: The article is accepted for publication.

But then, from the time the article was accepted for publication until mention of it suddenly appeared in the Deseret News and The Washington Times, the article was never posted on Social Science Research’s Articles In Press section. After the incredible speed with which the data was gathered, article written, reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication, the article just sat there, hidden, available only to the select few that Regnerus chose to make it available to. In fact, one potential critic of that Deseret News contacted to comment on the study couldn’t because he had not seen it and Deseret News refused to provide him with a copy.

As of today, Social Science Research lists 33 articles as being in press. Three of those articles have been in the queue since before March 12 when Regnerus’s paper was accepted. And as you can see, none of the other articles were prepared with the lightning speed which Regnerus’s paper enjoyed.

Received Revised Accepted Available
In Press
York Feb 1, 2012 May 4, 2012 May 31, 2012 Jun 13, 2012
Krumpal Jul 13, 2011 May 24, 2012 May 31, 2012 Jun 13, 2012
Price & Collett Sep 5, 2011 May 15, 2012 May 31, 2012 Jun 13, 2012
Alvarado & Turley Nov 11, 2011 May 10, 2012 May 31, 2012 Jun 13, 2012
Schmidt & Danziger Jul 18, 2011 May 31, 2012 Jun 4, 2012 Jun 12, 2012
Warner & Adams Jun 10, 2011 May 23, 2012 May 31, 2012 Jun 11, 2012
Kreisman Oct 22, 2011 Feb 23, 2012 May 10, 2012 May 31, 2012
Högnäs & Carlson Jul 25, 2011 Mar 7, 2011 May 10, 2012 May 30, 2012
Arnio, et al. Jul 10, 2011 Jan 18, 2012 May 10, 2012 May 22, 2012
Kye & Mare Apr 5, 2011 Feb 20, 2012 May 10, 2012 May 18, 2012
Cor, et al. Aug 10, 2011 Apr 26, 2012 May 2, 2012 May 16, 2012
Daw & Hardie Feb 5, 2011 Apr 20, 2012 May 2, 2012 May 14, 2012
Yan, et al. Jul 7, 2011 Dec 15, 2011 May 2, 2012 May 11, 2012
Shu & Zhu Feb 23, 2011 Jan 4, 2012 May 1, 2012 May 11, 2012
Seltzer, et al. Aug 23, 2011 Apr 24, 2012 May 2, 2012 May 11, 2012
Klugman, et al. Jul 1, 2011 Apr 25, 2012 May 2, 2012 May 10, 2012
Felson & Painter-Davis Sep 19, 2011 Apr 15, 2012 Apr 23, 2012 May 2, 3012
Lancee & Van de Werfhorst Jun 22, 2011 Mar 25, 2012 Apr 16, 2012 Apr 26, 2012
Marquart-Pyatt Jan 24, 2011 Mar 27, 2012 Apr 2, 2012 Apr 17, 2012
Brauner-Otto, et al. Jun 10, 2011 Mar 30, 2012 Apr 2, 2012 Apr 16, 2012
Mollborn, et al. Sep 1, 2011 Mar 23, 2012 Apr 2, 2012 Apr 16, 2012
Xie, et al. Sep 4, 2009 Feb 12, 2012 Apr 1, 2012 Apr 10, 2012
Cheadle & Sittner Hartshorn Jul 8, 2011 Mar 18, 2012 Mar 27, 2012 Apr 3, 2012
Logan & Zhang Oct 11, 2011 Feb 13, 2912 Mar 14, 2012 Apr 3, 2012
Cheadle & Schwadel Sep 23, 2011 Mar 18, 2012 Mar 27, 2012 Apr 1, 2012
Sonnenberg, et al. Jul 7, 2011 Nov 2, 2011 Mar 19, 2012 Mar 27, 2012
Zhou Apr 15, 2011 Jan 15, 2012 Jan 2, 1900 Mar 27, 2012
Teney & Hanquinet Jul 31, 2011 Mar 7, 2012 Mar 15, 2012 Mar 23, 2012
Thornton, et al. Aug 24, 2011 Jan 18, 2012 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 21, 2012
Guzzo & Hayford Mar 9, 2011 Dec 22, 2011 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 21, 2012
Villareal & Hamilton Jan 6, 2011 Feb 15, 2012 Feb 21, 2012 Mar 7, 2012
Smith, et al. May 17, 2011 Feb 13, 2012 Feb 14, 2012 Feb 27, 2012
Logan & Shin Apr 8, 2011 Jan 29, 2012 Jan 31, 2012 Feb 7, 2012

And how does the timeline for Regnerus’s paper stack up with the others appearing in the July 2012 issue? Have a look:

Received Revised Accepted Available
In Press
Marks Oct 3, 2011 Mar 8, 2012 Mar 12, 2012
Regnerus Feb 1, 2012 Feb 29, 2012 Mar 12, 2012
Zuberi Jan 28, 2010 Jan 13, 2012 Jan 17, 2012 Jan 29, 2012
Casciano & Massey Apr 5, 2011 Feb 11, 2012 Feb 14, 2012 Mar 3, 2012
Schmeer Oct 28, 2010 Jan 20, 2012 Jan 23, 2012 Feb 2, 2012
Treas & Tai May 31, 2011 Jan 26, 2012 Jan 30, 2012 Feb 13, 2012
Ehlert Nov 10, 2010 Jan 10, 2012 Feb 7, 2012 Feb 17, 2012
Manlove Jan 21, 2010 Feb 2, 2012 Feb 7, 2012 Feb 21, 2012
Henretta, et al. Feb 10, 2011 Dec 15, 2011 Feb 21, 2012 Mar 2, 2012
Flashman Feb 5, 2011 Jan 15, 2012 Mar 1, 2012 Mar 13, 2012
Béteille, et al. Jul 18, 2011 Mar 1, 2012 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 27, 2012
Pharris-Ciurej, et al. May 21, 2009 Mar 1, 2012 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 21, 3012
Skaggs, et al. Aug 4, 2010 Jan 17, 2012 Jan 17, 2012 Jan 26, 2012
Foschi & Valenzuela Jul 25, 2011 Feb 1, 2012 Feb 2, 2012 Feb 11, 2012
Ergas & York Nov 17, 2011 Feb 2, 2012 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 17, 2012
Maimon & Browning Apr 16, 2011 Jan 25, 2012 Jan 30, 2012 Feb 8, 2012
Leopold, et al. Jul 16, 2011 Feb 20, 2012 Mar 12, 2012 Mar 21, 2012

You will notice that the only other article which didn’t appear in press before showing up in the July issue is a paper by Loren Marks which criticizes virtually every other study about gay and lesbian parenting from the past 30 years. (I hope to review that article over the weekend.) It too, along with Regnerus’s study, has been hailed by anti-gay activists and discussions of it appeared alongside Regnerus’s study in the Deseret News and The Washington Times.

By the standards of Social Science Research, it looks like the skids were well greased to get Regnerus’s article through the process as quickly as possible, and then to carefully control its release afterward. With these kinds of dates, it’s very difficult to believe that Regnerus’s article did not receive special treatment throughout the processes.

And so this brings up the obvious question: Why?

There are two major sets of events this year which might provide an answer. By the time this year is over, it looks like there will have been a total of five ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage.  We had one constitutional amendment passed in North Carolina, and there will be another on the ballot in Minnesota. Maine and Washington will vote on whether to allow same-sex marriages in those states, and it looks all but certain that a similar question will be put to voters in Maryland. And if history is any guide, one important topic in these debates will be whether gay and lesbian couples are fit to raise children.

And that’s in addition to the four federal court cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act — all of them successful so far. At least two of them, along with the pending Prop 8 case, are likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court very soon. Arguments over whether gays and lesbians can be good parents have figured in many of those cases as well. You can count on this paper showing up in briefs and filings as these cases move forward.

The conservative Whiterspoon Institute and Bradly Foundations together threw $785,000 at this study. They purchased a potent weapon, notwithstanding Regnerus’s protestations that the study says nothing about the fitness of gay or lesbian couples to raise children. And Social Science Review has been co-opted into that fight. Which goes to show that money doesn’t but good research, but it does buy politically useful research just when you need it.


June 15th, 2012

Maybe I am reading the data wrong, but it looked seems that some of the other papers were delayed because the authors took longer to revise their papers. Once the papers were revised it seems the journal acted pretty quickly. So it seems like the delay has more to do with the authors than the journal. Maybe Regnerus just turned his paper around faster? Or am I missing something?

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2012

The revision period includes sending the paper out to other peer reviewers for comments, their reviewing the paper, getting comments back, revising the paper, and then reviewing again, etc. Getting a paper reviewed and revised that quickly is very out of the ordinary. The timing for all that does not rest with the author(s) alone.


June 15th, 2012

Yes, this is extraordinary speed for a sociological journal. Including the Marks study in it makes me think that neither was peer-reviewed, at least in any meaningful sense. The editor of this journal is a sleazy character. I wonder if the members of the board are also part of the collusion that led to giving favorable attention to these papers. I think clearly the goal is to get something in print that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group can include in their court briefs. Bad Faith Psuedo Scholarship.


June 15th, 2012

I just reviewed for Social Science Research in May before this study came out.

I got the article to review at the end of April.

I reviewed and turned it in by the end of May.

I was notified on the decision of the manuscript two weeks later.

I’ve also had a manuscript submitted to Social Science Quarterly and got a response in less in a month.

It all depends on who’s reviewing and I would guess whether topic is a hot one. The piece I reviewed was one of those.

Therefore, I don’t buy the conspiracy theory that this piece was rushed through without a full review. I also know one of the reviewers of this piece – and this person is far from a conservative ideologue.

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2012

How unusual is it, then, to submit a paper for publication — complete with a title and conclusions — while you’re still polling your research firm for your samples? Isn’t that a bit like putting the cart before the horse?

My contention is that the entire thing was rushed. I’m not saying the peer review was complete. I’m just saying that others I’ve talked to who have published in more reputable journals with higher impact factors tell me that they haven’t seen this kind of turnaround. And when I look at the papers in this journal, I’d have to agree. After all, we are talking about a topic that everyone knows is very controversial.

And then, just to make things odder still, the paper was not published in press a few weeks after acceptance like all the others. It was held for a coordinated release through the conservative press before anyone outside the process could actually look at it to comment.

Taken altogether it looks odd.


June 15th, 2012

I’m a bit confused now about the question he asked. Did he screen for people who “ever” had a same-sex relationship (e.g. they could have experimented in college), or they had a relationship after the child was born (i.e. they had an affair when married)? Because I think the original post said it was the latter

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2012

From Regnerus’s paper:

“From when you were born until age 18 (or until you left home to be on your own), did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex?” Response choices were “Yes, my mother had a romantic relationship with another woman,” “Yes, my father had a romantic relationship with another man,” or “no.” (Respondents were also able to select both of the first two choices.) If they selected either of the first two, they were asked about whether they had ever lived with that parent while they were in a same-sex romantic relationship. The NFSS completed full surveys with 2988 Americans between the ages of 18 and 39.

Katherine Lorraine

June 15th, 2012

You are exactly right. The thing that same-sex marriage opponents have always tried to do is say that same-sex couples have a worse home-life for children. The science just isn’t there. Now it’s here, and now the SSM opponents have some poorly written articles to trumpet out in triumph. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two articles are put out as the proof that SSM damage children, and are going to be the hinge upon which Supreme Court opinion swings.


June 15th, 2012

I did get an e-mail from Dr. James Wright out of Florida yesterday in response to my request to tell me who the reviewers were. He declined to do so.

If you look at Amato’s review he states that he was a consultant (2 days) on it, and also Dr. Walter Schumm I think he is out of University of Kansas, writes in that he was a paid consultant on it for 3 days.

Dr. Walter Schumm served as a consultant (3 days) on the early development of measures to possibly be included in the NFSS, including a method for tracking family structural changes over the life cycle.

Dr. Wright (the Editor)wrote,
“The peer review process is “blind,” so I must keep the names of the reviewers confidential. I can tell you that all of them are esteemed full professors at major research universities with well-established credentials in family sociology.”

Since the review process is blind we know that it can’t be Shumm or Amato.

Was there an agenda here? Well yes obviously. Was it lead or had the cooperation of Dr. Wright the Editor of the Journal, well yes.

But when all is said and done I don’t think any of this hurts our side in one respect and that is in Court. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if our side called him in as a hostile witness, LOL!

What is the net result of his research? That MIXED ORIENTATION MARRIAGES, one spouse gay and the other spouse straight, or MIXED ORIENTATION SEXUAL UNIONS that produce children are very hard on those children. If anything it proves that it is better for gays to marry gays and raise children in a stable home, and for and straights marry straights and raise children in a stable home. IF you make it against the law for gays to marry you may increase the likelihood that they will marry straight with the now documented disastrous results.

I have no doubt that there is a political agenda behind this research but they didn’t win :). I know this and I’ll tell you how.

Since the very first day this came out which was Sunday in the Desert Press I have kept a Google Alert and I have read every single news article and blog article, and I mean every single one, and WE WON!!! The public overwhelmingly knows that this research studied mommy+daddy [and either mommy and/or daddy had a gay fling] and NOT mommy+mommy or daddy+daddy.

In fact I was really happy that the Los Angeles Times ran an Op Ed today using that phrasing as their headline. Daddy+Daddy vs Mommy+Daddy.
And I WISH everyone would use that description of this research because right away in the headline, the public understands who was studied. It was Mommy+Daddy.

I have read every single news or blog article since the very FIRST ONE, which was JIM BURROWAY on BOX TURTLE BULLETIN, and I commented on ALL of them showing the e-mail Dr. Regnerus sent me stating that he did not find but 2 people who were raised by a lesbian mother for 18 years. And he found no gay fathers. And those 2 turned out very well.

Now the Family Research Council will lie and so will the American Family Association and so will NOM but we never had those people anyway and there is no way we could ever get them. But the movable middle they KNOW the truth because WE got the truth about this research out there right from the very FIRST news article, and then our side went to work and heavily publicized this.

Jim because of YOU we didn’t play catch up. The mainstream media quickly corrected their news stories and showed the truth. It was within 24 hours I was monitoring. Sure it could have been more clear (if people would just use mommy+daddy that would make it crustal clear)but within 24 hours the media got it right. We did that. Our side did that. We didn’t play catch up, we were out there on the same day it was released with the proof of what this research was.

I am very proud that I helped, but Jim you brought this to us on Saturday, early enough to make a difference. You run a terrific blog which makes most of us read you at least once a day and for me it is more than that. You and Tim and Rob have built your blog up to the point that you are regularly checked and reliable. Because of this I felt comfortable relying on your information and taking action.


June 15th, 2012

Anyone seen this?


June 15th, 2012

I think that SG writes for all of us who’ve been following this story here.

And this isn’t the only time BTB has been out ahead. I haven’t always agreed with what I’ve read here but I remain grateful that I can check in knowing I’ll be reading something put together with care.

One suggestion? Could there be a donate button?


June 15th, 2012

FYI, Loren Marks is the LSU professor who was slated to be a pro prop-8 expert witness but was dismissed pre-trial because he had no expertise. I have no doubt that this meta-analysis is an attempt to establish him as an expert for future trials.


June 15th, 2012

Ohhhh Mozie, THAT! THAT is DELISH!

No I never had made that connection.

I’ll have to go look at the 9th Circuit website and look and see if they have video of his pre-Trail Deposition.

Love you babe, Mozie. This is delish :)

p.s. That is a JoeMyGod phrase, “This is delish”


June 15th, 2012

Many thanks for bringing us this video. I will transcribe it, whihc is a pia but I know necessary. Unless YOU want to volutere to transcribe it. We really need it transcribed. D-o-c-t-o-r Regnerus does look to be under a bit of “stress” in the video don’t you think?

I warned him though, I warned him in my very first e-mail that unless he identified the family structures of the LM (Lesbain mothers) and GF Gay Fathers just like he did for the heterosexual families that he was going to take a pounding from the gays. In fact those were my exact words, “you will take a pounding from the gays”. He didn’t listen, he chose to lump all the GF (married, divorced single mothers) into one bucket yet he separated out the heterosexual families into separate family structure groups. Married heterosexuals in one bucket, divorced heterosexuals in another bucket etc.

I do not feel sorry at all for him, I warned him and he went ahead anyway. He is a big boy, he knew what he was doing, AND he arrogantly did it anyway.


June 15th, 2012

Um, what does “in press” mean?

Regan DuCasse

June 15th, 2012


Kind of hard NOT to see a conspiracy in this research considering who has funded it, who was one or two of the peers who enabled it and WHY it was being done in the first place and how shoddily the work was done.
The haste of it’s publication is almost an aside to how it’s being used.

Because, ya know, there IS a wide, expensive and vastly influential conspiracy to smear gay people as much as possible. Especially from being married and having any access to children.
Ya think?


June 15th, 2012

What Regenerus failed to take into account was T, or time. He might have gotten a greater sample size.

But yes, NOM greased the skids on this one. It’s fingerprints are all over it.


June 15th, 2012

As a scholar in a different field I can tell you that the review process can vary widely in timing.

The editor chooses the reviewers and while this is supposed to be in the service of scholarship, he is certainly able to “stack the deck” on either side based on his choice. He may also encourage a speedy review.

Moreover, a revised paper need not go back out for review; the editor handling that paper has wide latitude to decide whether the concerns of the external reviewers have been adequately dealt with, even to the point of not consulting with them again, or deciding that a particular concern can be ignored. I’ve had a revised paper accepted literally the day it was re-submitted, by the editor who decided that I had dealt with concerns.

Finally, even if Reviewer A didn’t like the paper, the editor is free to ignore reviewer A’s concerns. Basically the editor acts as a super-reviewer who makes the final decision. This is necessary because it’s not uncommon for reviewers to disagree on what needs to be done. But of course, it also is an opportunity to put one’s thumb on the scale. That would be a very serious abrogation of scholarly ethics.

While peer review is generally blind, at his discretion a reviewer may sign a review or admit that he reviewed something, taking off the mask so to speak.

Papers are described as “in press” after they are accepted but before they are published. In the old days of paper journals, this reflected the period necessary to typeset and print the journal, so they were literally in -the-(printing)-press. These days it’s the short time before online publication. It’s not unknown for “hot” papers to be held for publication date to coordinate publicity.

In this case, I think any concerns should be brought respectfully to the editorial board and the publisher. If I were a reviewer who did NOT approve of the paper, I might be inclined to do the same (with a copy of my review).

Remember most scholars take their responsibilities very seriously and there are very strong accusations here. This is potentially career ending stuff, and moreover we don’t need to make any martyrs.

Let’s focus on what Regnerus showed, as SG points out: Mixed orientation marriages are not good for children. He says nothing about stable same sex couples and even admits he cannot.

David Roberts

June 15th, 2012

Man, that video. Regenerus comes across as an arrogant SOB, with a big victim complex. What a lightweight. He could have done a decent study with that money, one the results of which would actually mean something.

I’m averse to conspiratorial intrigue normally, but this thing is just so bad and bypasses normal, time consuming routes. The totality of the evidence seems rather damning.

After watching his responses in that video, I think he knows very well what he did, and more important that others with far greater social science chops know as well.

Scott Rose

June 15th, 2012

The editor of “Social Science Research” is James Wright. Note that SSR’s policies allow researchers to recommend “referees” for their own papers. Wright has published books and articles promoting “Covenant Marriage.” In his published papers, he has denigrated same-sex marriages, writing about the “threat” they represent to the “institution of marriage.”

Scott Rose

June 15th, 2012

June 15, 2012

William C. Powers
University of Texas, Austin
Austin Main Building 400 (G3400)
Post Office Box T
Austin, Texas 78713-8920

NOTE: This letter is being published on
President Powers:
Your employee Professor Mark Regnerus is shaming and disgracing your institution by violating your university’s academic honor code. The code specifically forbids using misinformation to inflict harm on others; Regnerus is doing precisely that.

Regnerus and his funders, both, appear to have approached his projected “research” on same-sex parenting – (which, it must be noted, does not actually measure same-sex-headed households with children) – determined, above all, to create a propaganda tool that could be used against gay citizens politically. This does not appear to have been an instance of a researcher wondering what the results of his study were going to be; it appears to have been an instance of a researcher having in mind an end result that had to be produced for a paying, political customer, and pursuing that end result in violation of all ethics of scientific research. When Robert George arranged for Regnerus’s $785,000 of funding through the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation – (where he is, respectively, senior fellow, and a board member) – George knew that he would have influence over the direction of the study, as well as over the propagandistic uses to be made of Regnerus’s very severely biased, anti-gay political interpretations of the data, that verifiably are fully contradictory of the actual data. The appearance is that Robert George arranged the funding for his desired anti-gay political product, and that Regnerus manufactured that product to Robert George’s specifications.

You should note, incidentally, that the LDS Church’s Deseret News has been trumpeting misleading information about Regnerus’s study with an evident aim of further inciting people against homosexuals’s rights. The propagandizing follows aspects of a playbook published on Robert George’s National Organization for Marriage’s website, under the heading “Marriage Talking Points.” The Deseret News has yet to mention that Robert George arranged the funding for Regnerus’s study, and/or that Robert George is on the Deseret News’s editorial board. Regnerus apparently furnished written statements to the Deseret News, without any public disclosure that his study’s funder had direct editorial control over what gets published in that venue.

Robert George is the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay group notorious for telling deliberate, defamatory anti-gay lies. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that NOM is especially dishonorable for conflating homosexuality with pedophilia, which is a falsehood. Now, NOM and Regnerus are escalating the defamation, by broadcasting far and wide the fraudulent notion that all homosexual adults are dangerous to children. Regnerus and NOM at this moment are engaged in an apparently coordinated, political, anti-gay defamation campaign based off of Regnerus’s study, all the while telling outright lies about what the study measured and shows; and Regnerus is unethically exploiting his associations with the prestige of your institution of higher learning, to attach an unwarranted imprimatur of respectability to his blatantly unscholarly abuses of his “research,” and of your school’s name.

If you take no stand against Regnerus’s coordinated political anti-gay hate campaign with Robert George and the National Organization for Marriage, then you are leaving your institution’s reputation in a garbage-bin of iniquity with Liberty University, where NOM’s William Duncan headed a session titled “Homosexuals or Homo Sapiens: Who Deserves Protected Class Status?”

Honorable academicians do not stand by silently when ill-intentioned bigots smear a minority as sub-humans, or malevolently and falsely insinuate that all adult members of the minority are dangerous to children. NOM and Regnerus each have long-established records of using religion as an alibi for their bullying non-acceptance of gay people. And, Regnerus right now is deliberately lying about the sources of his anti-gay hatred in connection with promotions of his study. For example, on June 10, 2012, he said in the pages of Patheos, an Evangelical publication, that there was no religious motive behind his study. In striking contradiction to that duplicitous claim, though, Regnerus in his Trinity Christian College alumnus bio says that his “faith” – in this case, actually, his anti-gay bigotry — informs what he researches.
The University of Texas, Austin, must not allow its professors to violate its honor code by contaminating their allegedly scientific research with a theologically-fueled nasty bigotry against a social minority.
Please respond by informing me as soon as possible how you intend to act on this letter.
Scott Rose

Priya Lynn

June 15th, 2012

David said “Man, that video. Regenerus comes across as an arrogant SOB, with a big victim complex.”.

I didn’t see arrogance, I saw a lot of hand-wringing and tentative speech, he seemed very insecure to me and that he didn’t have much confidence in his study or the conclusions he drew from it.


June 15th, 2012

The Christian martyr complex was evident before when he said that he didn’t expect many people to agree with him and even said that he expected to get attacked over it.


June 15th, 2012

However Regnerus and Wright attempt to spin the story, it is clear that this bad faith pseudo scholarship was not truly “peer reviewed.” They may have gone through the motions, but Wright undoubtedly stacked the deck in favor of getting this nonsense in print as soon as possible. I hope this is a career ender for both of them. They have acted unethically.

Amity Buxton

June 15th, 2012

As Founder of the Straight Spouse Network, a worldwide support organization for heterosexual husbands and wives whose wives and husbands come out gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, I’ve keep up with research on this topic since 1986. I myself did a literature review on “the Best Interest of Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents” for The Scientific Basis of Child Custody Decisions, first edition. In all these studies (up to 1999), children fared as well if not better in some areas with their gay or lesbian parents some areas than their counterparts in heterosexual parent homes. All studies I’ve read since then have similar findings. Aside from the questionable criteria for selecting the parents and comparative methodology in the present study, the spotty data and untrue conclusions are shameful and the consequences of such shoddy research are frightening.


June 15th, 2012

Please, this is not a conspiracy, even if it is political.

If we don’t like a scientific paper published, we are free to re-examine the data or propose alternative interpretation (as some have, to some effect). Take it apart in the dispassionate logic of the discipline. Research is self-correcting because the flaws are there to see, and will be corrected. I see a rebuttal paper that examines Regnerus’ data set in the future… and we are already seeing scholars challenging his conclusions.

But to attack a conservatives for authoring a study that supports their views is no different than the other side telling us a study by a lesbian scientist or pro-equality investigator is equally suspect. Are we driven by data or by emotion?

I haven’t seen any evidence that would suggest that anyone handled this paper “out of the ordinary”. Yes, it might have been fast-tracked– that happens routinely, if a journal thinks that there is a hot subject that will get it pageviews and citations.

it’s routine for authors to suggest reviewers (and also to suggest people NOT to review). The editor needn’t follow those suggestions, and indeed generally will only use one, if any, suggested reviewer.

I submit that these ad hominem attacks are completely inappropriate. Academic freedom allows people to investigate whatever problem they choose, even if their findings and opinions are unpopular. If not, no one would have been able to fund research on “our side”.

I suggest engaging on the grounds of the science and stop seeing conspiracies every where.

F Young

June 15th, 2012

Straightgrandmother, don’t neglect how critical you were yourself in publicizing the defects of the Regnerus study. You did a tremendous job.


June 15th, 2012

Amy Buxton? Ms. Buxton, it is an honor an extreme honor to have you here. In fact it was through the Straight Spouse network that I learned just how horrible Mixed Orientation Marriages are. I would ask if you would write a review/rebuttal (I am not sure of the right word) and submit it to the Journal. I can think of no one better than you to do this. Write about how devastating these marriages are for the adults and the children of those marriages when a spouse in a Mixed Orientation Marriage has a same sex affair. Talk about the statistics of how so few of these marriages survive and even the ones that do survive how difficult it is.

Your rebuttal/review will go a long way in understanding the poor outcomes that Dr. Regnerus shows. You will be interested that I made the same request of Mark Yarhouse on his blog.

Did you read these BTB colums Ms. Buxton? These will catch you up, in case you are just joining us now.

This second link I think is particularly interesting

Again it is my absolute honor to have you joining us, you can add tremendously to the conversation. In fact why don’t you just start talking about Mixed Orientation Marriages right here? Tell the readers.

I have done pretty much research on this simply because the ability to “change” that it is a “choice” is used politically and legally so I had to go learn about that. Is it really possible or not? So searching on that question I came across your work. I already had pretty much figured out on my own that it wasn’t a choice. Please do share Ms. Buxton.


June 15th, 2012

The timeline from end of data collection to submission of the scientific report strains all credibility. I’d love to know how so much work was accomplished in such a short time.
The short turn-around time from review to resubmission suggests that the reviewers did not have major criticisms of the study, although these have been readily evident to others who have read the paper.
I also don’t think that enough has been made of potential conflict-of-interest issues: the funding sources are both anti-gay marriage in their views and the primary author’s career includes quite a bit of “traditional marriage” advocacy. Advocates do not good scientists make.
This is not good science, yet it will be used by NOM/FRC/et al. to fight marriage equality, just like Bob Spitzer’s unscientific ASB article was used to promote reparative therapy.

Rob Tisinai

June 15th, 2012

I love the fact Box Turtle is building a narrative. We’re not just exploring What happened and Who did, but also the Why and now the How.

After we collect all this, we could turn it into a true-life thriller.


June 15th, 2012

Yes Rob it is fun and exciting to be a member of this diverse community and watch what others bring to contribute. And if I don’t have anything to contribute at the moment, at least I can give props to those who do. I wish there was a way to show all the links to the different articles on this story. I have never found a way to page backwards on here.


June 15th, 2012

You know Rob the reason he didn’t find but 2 mommy+mommy for 18 years is because he limited his search years to people born between 1972 and 1990. The first child born using IVF was Louise Brown in 1978 in England.

It wasn’t until 1981 that we had the first child born in the United States utilizing IVF. So it was very unlikely that there were a whole lot of mommy+mommy homes with a mommy birth mother. Of course single parent adoption has been legal in all States since the mid 19th Century, but single parents were not favored, they were definitely second choice in the best interests of the child until relatively recently.

I don’t know why he didn’t think of this before or while he was working on this. I think it must be his youth. He was testing the outcome of mommy+mommy on adults, he was determined not to test on kids. But because of his youth he must not have understood that these advances we have in fertility assistance are still relatively pretty new.

Married couples who could not conceive were given those infants first, single moms just didn’t get a child very often at all. In the early 1970’s we still had State run and County homes to serve the handicapped. Children with handicaps were not put up for adoption, their parents kept them or else they want to an institution. I can’t remember anyone I have ever met that during those early years of the study who ever adopted a handicapped child. It is just not what happened in those days, they went to an institution either public or private.

Birth control was in full swing by then so there were fewer unwed mothers we used to call them. In that time still most unwed mothers gave their babies up for adoption and those infants where what the couples wanted, single women rarely got them unless they were mixed race.

I don’t think he put to much thought into studying the target years and trying to project how many of these adult children were out there.

Our first IVF birth was 1981 and the longitudinal Lesbian study is women who used artificial insemination in the late 1980’s, so he only had a real narrow window there. It takes a while from the first birth in 1981 to spread that technology out into the general population.

I tell you what I would have done. I would have lowered the age of the respondent to 14 and collected the data. They were making phone calls anyway. I would have re-worked my questions to ask under age 18 questions and over age 18 questions. I would not have tied myself to only aged 18 and up maybe because of my age, I would have figured out that there is not going to be hardly any. So as a backup I would lower my age and incorporate the kids from age 14 and up and study them also.
Like I said they were making the phone calls anyway.

It is better than what he got. He got nothing. He didn’t have a back up plan, no Plan B. Especially early on looking at the results coming in, when I saw I wasn’t getting anybody I think I would have halted and made adjustments. I would have started taking people younger than age 18. But that is just me.


June 15th, 2012

Zinnia Jones weighs in:


June 15th, 2012


I am confused/concerned by this “Mixed Orientation Marriage” term.

Does this include, for example, a same-sex marriage involving a lesbian and a bisexual woman?

Would a child raised in a loving family be harmed by this relationship configuration?

Without defining the term, your statements such as
“we should discourage people from entering into Mixed Orientation Marriages” were a bit disturbing.

Based on your previous posts and important actions you have taken to challenge this research article, I suspect this isn’t what you meant. However I worry that this term, among other things, risks perpetuating prejudices against the bisexual community.

Am I off-base here?


June 15th, 2012

Lily I think that a bi-sexual person has as good of chance as anybody else to a happy long marriage. That is what we all desire and want, compatibility with our spouse. As long as you are compatible romantically, emotionally and sexually you are not in a Mixed Orientation Marriage.

A Mixed orientation marriage is when you are not compatible romantically, emotionally or sexually attracted to your spouse, but to people opposite of your spouses gender.

I am not an expert, I have simply studied the matter and this is my understanding.


June 15th, 2012

Oh I forgot to reply to your, “Am I off base her?” I think it was probably a real good idea for you to ask for clarification, I was just throwing out the term weakly defined so I don’t think you are off base, not at all.


June 16th, 2012

SGM, I can tell you that this study will never be admitted into evidence in any court case. This study is useful to the anti-gay side politically, not legally.

BTW, wasting no time, Peter LaBarbera has posted an interview with Peter Sprigg from FRC = who now calls himself a “senior fellow for policy studies” – about the “gay parenting” study. This nicely illustrates what is going on. They are constructing a parallel universe of authority – fake experts opining on fake studies to buttress their preconceived biases.


June 17th, 2012

I appreciate all the work that has been done to show how weak, harmful and unethical this study was. However, I would like to advocate for a change in language and not use “mixed orientation marriages”, even as defined by StraightGrandmother. I believe that, although it is in the literature, it comes from ignoring (willfully or not) the reality of many bisexual and transgender marriages (and parents). Mixed orientation marriages happen all the time with bi and trans folks. Many of them are incredibly happy, especially if people felt able to be open and honest from the start. Those unions that do not work are the ones in which one or both parties are denying their identities. I am in a very happy “mixed orientation marriage” and have been for 12 years. We are raising an amazing child. I was already out as queer/bi when I married my spouse and came out as trans/genderqueer a few years into our marriage. I believe that using such terms in a derogatory manner perpetuates the invisibility of bisexuality and it is hurtful to those trans folks who have also found a way to make their marriages work. I believe that this term only perpetuates heteronormative binary view of human sexuality, which it’s not at all helpful to our cause (and yes, I feel fully part of the LGBTQ movement, despite the judgement, biphobia and transphobia I experienced in the past 20 years. And yes, I want to see the US finally sanction marriage equality on a federal level). I invite you all, amazing people commenting on this blog, to use terms such as “marriage equality” rather than gay marriage, and “mismatched unions” instead than mixed orientation marriages. Lets not leave parts of our movements behind while fighting for full citizenship. Thanks.

Priya Lynn

June 17th, 2012

Alex, I think “mismatched unions” is somewhat ambiguous whereas “mixed orientation marriages” is a little more clear as to what the reference is. Personally it never crossed my mind to think that marriages with a bisexual or transexual partner might be considered a “mixed orientation marriage”. To me it was always clear that it referred to a a gay or lesbian married to a hetero

Marc Paige

June 17th, 2012

When the parents have affairs, there can be negative outcomes for children. Big surprise there!

Donny D.

June 18th, 2012

Given the current intensity of homophobia and biphobia and the resulting tendency of straight people to think they’re the only folks in existence, mixed orientation marriage is a term that could conceivably be useful. It seems to me that when a monosexual and a bisexual person are married, there could be societally-caused problems. Especially if the bisexual person has a lot of time and social identity in the monosexual community that is opposite to the orientation of the monosexual spouse. I don’t know how often that’s true, but it must be true of some portion of mixed orientation marriages.


June 20th, 2012

I think I am going to post this on all the Regnerus topics on Box Turtle. Let’s say we all work together and make a terrific website where we collect all this information on the Regnerus’ Study.

We crowd source this and everybody helps. I think what is missing is a lot of comments on the research by other Sociologists. We can all take a State and then call all the Universities in that State and speak to Sociologists there and ask them to provide their feedback on the research.

Other people can work on collecting up all the direct quotes from Regnerus.

Oh and shouldn’t we collect up all the places the data is being misreported? I saw for example a quote something like, “Well this study proves that pedophilia is rampant with gays”

And what about a website? Should we buy a domain name or should we use Blogger or Word press or something? If we hosted this separately how much would that cost us in bandwidth if a lot of people visited? Does anybody have idea on this?

Let’s set this up and organize this so it will be real easy for lawyers from our side to have a good reference point to jump off from.

What else? Do you like this idea? Who will help? I don’t mind if this is a part of Box Turtle and they are getting recognition for this. But I do think to do this right it is to big for the few guys at Box Turtle we need a lot more helping hands than just those guys. Whadda think?

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