Regnerus Study Featured In Russian Anti-Gay Propaganda

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2013

A new anti-gay propaganda video is making the rounds in Russia, which includes these claims:

But what to the experts say? Mark Regnerus, professor at Texas University, began his study in 2010. His findings were that one fourth of children being raised by same-sex parents showed a tendency toward suicide and had contracted venereal diseases and sixty percent of children struggle with their sexual identity. Moreover, one in three children being raised by same-sex couples were needed by their adopted parents for sex. So this is why, gays especially, are happy for children to be adopted by gays. They need children to satisfy their sexual desire.

Regnerus’s discredited study appears to have gone viral in Russia. When pressed, Regnerus will sometimes admits that his study cannot support the claims that he makes that gay parenting results in worse outcomes in children — only two kids in his study were actually raised by gay parents for their entire childhoods —  but he then continued to make those claims anyway. But Regnerus now expresses his dismay at discovering that his study is being misrepresented in Russia. This is odd. After he contorted his data and applied logical fallacies in the rushed service of bought and paid-for anti-gay politics in America, he now complains that others are using it to further a similar agenda.

He may, as well, complain that this particular video is a gross misrepresentation of what his study actually says — and that’s even after his own gross misrepresentation of what the data says that went into his study. And he’d be correct, but frankly, he has no room to complain. The Russians are only doing to his study what he did to his data set. The best he can muster is a complaint about the relative degree misrepresentation, and that won’t get him very far. He may as well get used to sharing his bed with Russians propagandists for a very long time to come.

Scott Rose

September 20th, 2013

Dr. Neal Caren has looked at the raw data, and said that it is doubtful that Regnerus even had two respondents substantially raised by “lesbian mothers.”

What’s more is that Jim Burroway’s own initial look at what Regnerus did incorrectly concluded that Regnerus had screened enough people in the national population to have a representational number of young adult children raised by gay parents.

In fact, documentation had through Public Information Act requests shows that Knowledge Networks itself told Regnerus that its online Knowledge Panel alone would not be adequate to a nationally representative sample of young adults raised by gay parents. Thus, Regnerus had made untrue claims for the Knowledge Panel that the company itself does not make for it.

Scott Rose

September 20th, 2013

Sign the petition at this link, asking for the University of Central Florida to discipline Regnerus editor James Wright:

For ease of reading access, the petition text is here:

We, the undersigned, demand that you enforce the University of Central Florida’s “CREED” against your faculty member James Wright, who violated it in multiple egregious ways in publishing anti-gay hit-job papers by Mark Regnerus, Loren Marks, and Walter Schumm in Elsevier’s journal “Social Science Research,” which is headquartered on the UCF campus.

Please note that when your university’s CREED was first promulgated, UCF’s Patricia MacKown said: “It is not a student creed but a creed for the entire community, it does not apply to students only.”

Take Item 1 of the CREED: INTEGRITY: “I will practice and defend academic and personal honesty.”

UCF’s James Wright violated the INTEGRITY pledge from UCF’s creed — twice — in June, 2012, and then again in November, 2012, when he knowingly published Mark Regnerus’s lie that his anti-gay-rights funders — who are religious anti-gay bigots — played no role in his study design, data collection or data analyses.

In August, 2012, investigative reporters documented beyond all doubt that Regnerus’s funders were involved in the study design of the so-called “New Family Structures Study.” Wright ignored those investigative reporters’ presentations of the evidence, and went ahead to publish the same galling lie from Regnerus in his follow-up NFSS, non-peer-reviewed paper in November.

Investigative work has demonstrated that while the combined Marks and Regnerus papers were contrived for use as a bigot’s cudgel against gay people, not a single one of the peer reviewers is trained or experienced in LGBT-sciences. All of the peer reviewers had conflicts of interest, including fiduciary conflicts of interest, with Regnerus funding agency representative W. Bradford Wilcox among the worst.
When NFSS paid consultant Dr. Paul Amato was smoked out as a peer reviewer of the Regnerus paper, he made this public confession: “I understand that providing a review was not a good idea, because one should avoid even the hint of impropriety in matters like this. ”

The NFSS was commissioned by anti-gay bigots with the stipulation that it be carried out by somebody opposed to LGBT equality. It’s anti-gay conclusions were so firmly decided in advance, that Regnerus and Wilcox traveled with Witherspoon money in August, 2011 — BEFORE DATA COLLECTION OCCURRED — to discuss NFSS media and P.R. promotions with the religious anti-gay bigot Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family. Regnerus reported back to Witherspoon president Luis Tellez that the meeting went well, and they had a good study promotions plan moving forward.

Among the people to acknowledge that Regnerus lied in his paper, and that Wright committed gross editorial misconduct in publishing the two Rengerus anti-gay packages, are Dr. Cecilia Ridgeway — President of the American Sociological Association — and Dr. Philip Cohen — Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology at the University of Maryland. Both have told UCF’s James Wright that the intellectual integrity of “Social Science Research” depends on the Regnerus paper being retracted.

UCF boasts of “Social Science Research” being a “top journal” housed on campus. It is past time for you to begin to restore honor to your campus. Tell James Wright to acknowledge publicly that he published Regnerus’s lie, knowingly, twice, and then pressure him, however you must, until he retracts the Regnerus, Marks and Schumm papers.

The LGBT community has matured. We will not stand for the dishonest academic James Wright violating your university’s creed and getting away with it at our expense.


September 20th, 2013

What little I have read of his comments suggests an objection of degrees, aimed specifically at proposed legislation to remove children from the homes of gay parents. If I understand that legislation, even a married couple of whom one partner is not-perfectly-straight could loose their children. While he may not like gay people raising kids, I don’t think he finds gay parents any more objectionable than single and/or divorced parents. This is where the degrees come in; I read his objections as saying that the proposed legislation goes too far, akin to threatening to remove kids from the homes of their divorced or otherwise single parents. As much as conservatives in the US don’t like single mothers, they would never advocate for taking their children. And if you aren’t willing to do that, then why would you do it to gay parents (who are, by his study, at least as good). Further, the threat of severing family ties altogether is far worse in his mind (note how much conservatives worry about children knowing their ‘natural’ parents) than letting their biological gay parent partake in their raising. So yes, he is arguing degrees, but lets hope that the message gets through before Russia starts dictating which citizens are worthy of parenthood.

Scott Rose

September 20th, 2013

Regnerus’s hypocrisy is galling. Firstly, he did not do a study on “gay parenting.” Secondly, what sense does it make to say that children being raised by gay parents shouldn’t automatically be taken away from those parents, but that their families should be kept in a second-class legal status?

He thinks it’s OK to stigmatize and discriminate against children of gay-headed families, in the interest of protecting children?


September 20th, 2013

Scott, perhaps this is a matter of short-shortsightedness, looking no further than the battle over marriage equality. Would he have acted differently if he had known that this study would have been used to justify governments stealing kids from their parents? It is too late to know. Maybe now he will understand the nightmares suffered by gay couples struggling to ensure their family is protected when they are denied basic rights.

Ben In Oakland

September 20th, 2013

What I find amazing, quite apart from the other trenchant comments:

Regnerus is somewhat objecting to the use of his vicious hit piece by the heathen Russians, but has had no problem with your home-grown fascists using it in any way they please.

Priya Lynn

September 20th, 2013

Reminds me of Nazi anti-jewish propaganda. Hopefully gays in Russia won’t meet the same fate but its already looking like that’s the path their headed down.

Scott Rose

September 20th, 2013


The Regnerus hoax was contrived — among other purposes — specifically to help courts take children out of gay-headed households.

We only know of the prominent US court cases that have involved Regnerus’s paper; Hawaii, Nevada, Michigan, the Supreme Court; but in custody cases in generally anti-gay jurisdictions, who knows what has happened with the Regnerus paper? There is every reason to believe that it has been used to revert to the default position of denying custody to parent credibly “accused” of being homosexual.

The prior anti-gay laws in Russia passed — not just with Russian politicians’ uses of his paper — but with Regnerus himself granting interviews to anti-gay-rights publications in Russia.

(Note that when the New York Times tried to report on the connection between Regnerus’s religious faith and his “scientific” work, all he would tell their reporter was that talking about it wouldn’t be “profitable.”)

The prior anti-gay laws in Russia, if attempted in the United States would not pass constitutional muster, given that they violate our Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and freedom of assembly. Evidently, Regnerus thinks it’s OK for the Russians to use his paper to lock Russian gays in an iron closet.

But please, first things first. Regnerus headlined his Atlantic post with the false claim that his study is about “gay parenting.” The Atlantic editors themselves irresponsibly parroted the false notion that Regnerus’s study is about “gay parenting.” Meanwhile, all the way back in October, 2012, Regnerus told Citizen Link that he DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT his survey respondents’ parents’ sexual orientation.

As a matter of logic, a researcher who does not know about his study respondents’ parents’ sexual orientation can not credibly be said to have conducted a study on young adult children of gay parents.


September 20th, 2013

I am still hopeful of a retraction.
Don’t forget John Becker has an open court case going on this against the Editor James Wright out of the University of Central Florida.

Timothy Kincaid

September 20th, 2013

When I lit the torches, gathered the pitchforks, unleashed the baying dogs, and rallied the villagers, I didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt.


September 21st, 2013

Scott Rose’s point above merits restating. The Regnerus fraud has no doubt seeped down into family court cases (most of which are sealed and except in appelate cases don’t require lengthy legal justifications) involving child custody of gay and lesbian parents. Especially in states like Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas, etc. you can be sure that Family Court judges are heavily influenced by the people who promote the Regnerus fraud.


September 21st, 2013

What I find interesting is that Scott, Jay, I and many others have called his “study” a fraud and called him a deliberate fraud (just to emphasize), yet Regnerus has not to my knowledge even tried to refute our claims, let alone sue Scott for slander or libel.

He reminds me of John Travolta in his many outings who denies and denies, but never sues the publications that outed him.

He, like Regnerus, knows that the allegations are true.


September 22nd, 2013

@Jay. Are u just speculating? Seems has if gay parents are getting better access to their children than they have in the past. A judge denying access based on homosexuality becomes national news. Gay parents also have more case law and legal resources to support them than in the past.

enough already

September 22nd, 2013

Markanthony, I suspect many of us arguing that Regnerus has done enormous damage to the human and civil rights of queers are not limiting our criticism to the US.

I, at least, am not.

As for the extension of ‘rights’ to us in more conservative Christian dominated states, you need only look at the current civil rights disaster in Arkansas to see how easily the lies this man propagated are taken to be truth.

Had Romney won the election, we would almost certainly lost Justice Kennedy. He’s made no secret of his desire to retire, but under a Republican president. Without him, we now would not see part of DOMA repealed, Prop. 8 thrown in the dustbin of history and Windsor’s stolen money returned, with interest.

Have you any evidence that things have gotten better, here or elsewhere in the world? I see that we have won a few minor battles, but my knowledge of Nazi Germany is too great for me to believe the conservative Christians have truly abandoned their goals.


September 22nd, 2013

The correct translation at about 1:27 is “were forced into sexual intimacy by their foster (adoptive?) parents”.

*blood boiling*


September 22nd, 2013

TomTallis: In the US, a public figure (such as Regnerus or Travolta) who sues for defamation (libel or slander) has to meet a very heavy burden of proof: he has to show, by clear and convincing evidence (a higher standard of evidence than is normally needed in a civil case) that the defendant either personally knew that his allegations were false, or acted with reckless indifference to their truth. Most competent lawyers would refuse to assist a public figure with such a suit.

Thus you cannot assume that the failure of a public figure to sue for defamation says anything about the truth of the allegations.


September 23rd, 2013

Oddly enough, the dude in the rainbow t-shirt looks a lot like Regnerus.


September 23rd, 2013

I thought the same thing :)


September 23rd, 2013

Yet Carol Burnett sued the National Enquirer and won her suit.


September 23rd, 2013

It appears that a new word has entered the English language: “Regnerussian”.

Scott Rose

September 25th, 2013

It must be noted that I have a standing policy — with Regnerus and with everybody else — I publish corrections any time I am provided documentation showing that something I wrote is not factual.

As for the alleged U.S.-wide liberalization of gay parents’ rights, in important cases in both Hawaii and Nevada, anti-gay bigots successfully used Regnerus and the associated papers towards an anti-gay court decision.


September 26th, 2013

The Hawaii and Nevada cases both had Mormon judges. We can safely assume that their mind was made up before they ever heard or read any arguments.

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