Dear Dr. Mark Regnerus and Other Homophobic Bigots…

24 Jun

Who Cares About Science?

I was fortunate enough to get a great many responses to my BWA for Mark Regnerus.  Along with the responses came many wonderful ideas for a call to action.  I would like to share a key call to action and I have to thank Scott Rose from The New Civil Rights Movement for leaving this item on my blog. I also need to thank my friend and ally Sara Swain.

First, one needs to point out just some of the flawed science of Dr. Regnerus: the core of Regnerus’ analysis is “kin altruism”, the biological tie between parent and child, a mythical sine qua non in securing the stability required for children to thrive. That stability can come ONLY from this mythical kin altruism, and children can thrive ONLY with this kin-altruism-derived stability. Ergo, ONLY those children raised by their biological parent(s) (who are presumably not drunkards, abusive, mentally deranged, etc.) have the potential for the kind of positive outcomes Regnerus is seeking–I would love to see some meaningful data he had, presuming Dr. Regnerus knows what that is.

Take Action:

Here is just a snippet of the action Scott Rose took and I encourage all LGBT folk and our allies to take similar action:

William Powers, Jr.
University of Texas, Austin
Office of the President
Main Building 400 (G3400)
Austin, Texas 78713-8920

In Re: Scientific Misconduct Complaint against UTA’s Mark D. Regnerus

Dear President Powers:

I have filed, through the “EthicsPoint” online system, a complaint against UTA’s Mark D. Regnerus for Scientific Misconduct in violation of UTA’s Academic Dishonesty Policy, which forbids use of misinformation to hurt others.

Please respond promptly to this letter, which is being published at

Here are some facts of the case:

1)        This is not a complaint that UTA Mark D. Regnerus is active politically. The complaint rather is that Regnerus took money from political persons and groups to further their political goals, and in preparing a study for them, rushed it through production for their use in the 2012 elections, though Regnerus himself has stated in a video interview given to the Daily Texan’s Hannah Jane Deciutus that his methodology for the study does not work “to the long-term benefit of science.” In other words, in order to retain a large grant from political organizations, a) Regnerus knowingly failed to uphold acceptable standards for his discipline, and b) knowingly rushed through his study in time for his funders to use it in the 2012 elections, instead of c) working professionally to produce a study that would work “to the long-term benefit of science.” In that, Professor Regnerus’s behavior is antithetical to the raison d’être of a university.

Please contact the University of Texas, Austin and let President Powers hear our collective voice that homophobic non-science is not acceptable!

13 Responses to “Dear Dr. Mark Regnerus and Other Homophobic Bigots…”

  1. penguinlad June 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I hope many readers of this post follow up with action. I certainly will. What truly disturbs me is Regnerus’ blatant disregard for statistical validity and scientific method. While there are dozens of responses and rebuttals online, I find two to really get at the heart of things.
    William Saletan wrote two pieces in Slate, one congratulating the study for collecting massive amounts of data and another showing how badly those data were used. Regnerus replied, and Slate published five pieces as a virtual conversation between the two. This analysis by Saletan is the best dismantling of the bad use of data I’ve read. Even Regnerus admits that he couldn’t get a statistically valid sample of “stable” same-sex households; instead of abandoning a study based on lack of data, he used flawed logic to make deeply erroneous conclusions. That UT Austin defends this practice is appalling.
    Equally compelling is this piece from Scientific American. It makes two excellent points. The first (also implied by Saletan) is that all the Regnerus study proves is that stable households are best for kids. DUH. The second, more chilling point is the Pandora’s Box that one opens if one allows data about “better” parents to drive public policy. What about step-parents? Adoptions? It’s a steep and slippery slope.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Thank you for commenting and for the additional links. Yes, his “blatant disregard for statistical validity and the scientific method” are profoundly disturbing. I am truly saddened that UT Austin is defending his “study.”

  2. penguinlad June 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Sorry, the Saletan link failed. You can find the story here:

  3. William June 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Rants Ravings and Revelations.

  4. nevercontrary June 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I was at UT this past week. Kept my eye out for him. No luck. But, I guess that is a good thing as I probably would have kicked him in the balls, threw glitter at him and run away. Ok so, maybe I would have just run away.
    Do I just send the letter?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm #


      Yes, please send a letter to Dr. Powers the President of UT Austin. Can you use the format that Scott Rose used–that’s what I did.

      • nevercontrary June 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

        Yep, just wasn’t sure If I needed to file a formal complaint as well.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

        The more voices the better! Strength in numbers.

  5. Scott Rose June 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    The full letter has been published, and may be viewed here:

  6. Didion June 30, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    I too want to urge everyone to send letters to UT. Regnerus’ research is spectacularly shady no matter who funded it and no matter what his personal politics — just on the basis of his research techniques alone, he deserves to be sanctioned by both the university and his professional organization, the American Sociological Association.

    As Scott Rose points out neatly, Regnerus placed certain families into the category of “gay parents” using the most bizarre and nonsensical of rationales. Thus, when people read the headline — that children of gay parents suffer harm — they imagine a same-sex parental household or a single parent who is openly gay. Instead, Regnerus would have placed Jerry Sandusky (recently found guilty of 45 counts of child abuse in State College) into the category of “gay parents.”

    This kind of research is shameful. The more public attention brought to it, the better for civil rights and sociologists together.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 30, 2012 at 8:27 am #


      Thank you so much for your comment here and for your call to action! His “research” is exceedingly shameful and I feel puts UT Austin in a very poor light. Lest we forget that the homophobic Regnerus received funding by the nefarious hate group NOM.

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