Mark Regnerus’ life was turned upside down this past June when he published a study in the journal, Social Science Research, with findings that contradicted popular homosexual activist talking points.
The respected associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin became fodder in the blogosphere and was accused of committing “scientific misconduct” by several individuals and organizations.
What was so controversial or egregious about Dr. Regnerus’ research?
In short, the professor’s study found that children who are raised by parents who have had a same-sex relationship don’t do as well in life when compared to children of married heterosexual parents.
In Professor Regnerus’ own words:
On 25 of 40 different outcomes evaluated, the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families, displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents.
Even after including controls for age, race, gender, and things like being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live, such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things.
One notable theme among the adult children of same-sex parents … is household instability, and plenty of it. The children of fathers who have had same-sex relationships fare a bit better, but they seldom reported living with their father for very long, and never with his partner for more than three years.
The University of Texas took the accusations lodged against their faculty member seriously and launched an inquiry. Basically, the school was trying to find out whether Professor Regnerus had an agenda and was falsifying or playing loose with the data he collected. His computers were seized, as well as other forms of personal correspondence. Interviews were conducted.
In the end, Professor Regnerus was cleared of all charges.
“None of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth,” a university official wrote in a memo, “were substantiated either by physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews.”
So, he is innocent. But here is the sad irony:
Professor Regnerus wasn’t being attacked because his research lacked academic rigor – in fact, his peer-reviewed study was by far the largest, most statistically valid study on the topic to be done. He was being attacked because his scientific findings didn’t square with the liberal perspective. When it comes to this topic of homosexual parenting, numerous other studies have been published that utilized all kinds of sloppy techniques, all intended to generate a desired outcome – that children do just fine in homosexual households. None of the professors who have conducted those studies have been subjected to similar investigations, even though their bias is obvious and their work deeply flawed.
The indignity that befell Professor Regnerus notwithstanding, the findings of his study should embolden and hearten those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage.
Reality is not going to contradict God’s law and humans have the best chance to flourish when they follow it.