The Protocols of the Elders of the Castro

America’s religious right is marketing a new, and of course already-debunked, anti-gay study around the world, including in Russia.

It’s called the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), and is authored by Mark Regnerus. It’s the LGBT version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and it’s something every advocate, gay and straight, should be made aware of.

A little ironic background first on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

For those unaware, the Protocols is perhaps the most famous anti-Semitic tract in history. As Wikipedia notes, they’re “an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination.” And although many mistakenly assume the Protocols was a piece of German propaganda, it was fabricated originally in Russia (go figure) and supposedly published around 1903 (accounts differ).

Coverpage of original Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Original Russian language version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (aka propaganda fiction)

One such account says it was produced at the behest of Pyotr Rachkovsky, then head of the Russian secret police. Much of of it was plagiarized from other sources, including works of fiction and satire. It would be like composing a book that included sections lifted wholesale from A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay in which he satirically suggests the solution to Ireland’s rampant poverty is they should eat their own children — and then go on to claim it was documentary proof the British had a raging cannibalism problem.

What is the Regnerus Study?

The Regnerus Study claims to compare and contrast outcomes for children raised in gay or lesbian-headed families as opposed to heterosexual families (both biological and adoptive). Its conclusion: Children raised by gay and lesbian families are (according to the study) significantly more prone to depression, suicide, drug abuse, getting STDs, doing lousy in school, having behavior problems in general, and being sexually abused. Oh, and growing up to be gay.

In glancing through Regenerus data and charts, it would seem to indicate lesbian mothers are especially awful at raising kids, in addition to being more likely to be on public assistance and welfare. Not to mention, experts at taking children and turning them gay.

If it wasn’t already obvious, the Regnerus Study is also a particularly odious piece of pseudo-scientific claptrap. It’s been roundly criticized for its faulty selection methodology and biased analyses. It has been thoroughly and completely discredited by the scientific community, with one auditor referring to it as “bullshi*t.

Why the Regnerus Study is “bullsh*t”

Mark Regnerus Photo

Mark Regnerus being interviewed by The Daily Texan

The “study” was conceived and designed deliberately to produce predetermined (anti-gay and trans) results and conclusions.

An example of the “study’s” bias: A parent was classified as gay or lesbian if they had just one same-sex encounter or relationship, no matter how brief, at any point from their child’s birth until age 18. One same-sex encounter in your lifetime and you’re gay.

In fact, most of the supposedly gay and lesbian families in his study were the result of failed heterosexual marriages. Only two of the families, both lesbian headed, were long-term relationships.

And none of the gay and lesbian families were stable two-parent households raising a child together from birth. Not one. In other words, the study as to how children fare with gay parents didn’t include any children actually raised full-time with gay parents. A slight omission, one might think.

From Religion Dispatches, the same article linked above, by Peter Montgomery:

(W)hen the Regnerus study compared the children of parents who at one point had a “same-sex romantic relationship,” most of whom had experienced a family dissolution or single motherhood, to children raised by two biological, married opposite-sex parents, the study stripped away all divorced, single, and step-parent families from the opposite-sex group, leaving only stable, married, opposite-sex families as the comparison.

Why the Regnerus Study matters

Why does this ridiculous and completely discredited study matter? Because it is the reason why in country after country — in Russia, in France, and throughout Africa — the notion that “gays are bad for children” is raised as the sole, or at least primary, reason for the anti-gay activist protests and for the new spate of anti-gay legislation.

Need proof? Here’s the Regnerus study being cited in a Russian language news site.

The Bilerico Project has also done some fine reporting on the international collusion between anti-gay groups, including an IDC ’roundtable’ meeting in France in July this year on the “Defense of the Family” (sic). Among the speakers at the roundtable:

Elena Mizulina

Member of the Russian Duma, Elena Mizulina — the woman who wants to take Russian children away from their gay and lesbian parents

  • Béatrice Bourges, founding member of La Manif pour Tous and president of Le Printemps Français (two of France’s leading anti-gay activist groups).
  • Luca Volontè, a former member of the Italian parliament and of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, now president of the Fondazione Novae Terrae — and ardent anti-gay activist who has often been quoted praising the French anti-gay protests.
  • Christine Boutin, former minister. Although liberal on many social issues, including the availability of condoms to help prevent the spread of HIV, she’s adamantly against same sex marriage, claiming the usual polygamy slippery slope rationale.
  • Paul-Marie Coûteaux, essayist and former member of the European Parliament, and ally of Frigide Barjot (pseudonym of Virginie Merle) and Gilbert Collard. And he’s opposed both to same-sex marriage and allowing LGBT families to adopt children.
  • Elena Mizulina, chairperson of the Family Affairs Committee of the Russian Duma — and the woman “credited” with crafting and passing Russia’s new nationwide “Don’t Ask, Don’t Say Gay, Or Into the Gulag With You” law.
  • Olga Batalina, Ms. Mizulina’s vice-chairperson, and one of the top proponents of Russia’s recently enacted ban on allowing Russian children to be adopted to parents in countries that permit same-sex marriage — even if those parents are hetero.

Dolores-UmbridgeBy the way, keep an eye on Elena Mizulina (who John calls “Russia’s Dolores Umbridge” – she’s Russia’s lead anti-LGBT parliamentarian, basically Jesse Helms with pearls). Mizulina has said, “We are looking into the possibility of creating a legal basis for taking children out of families that are de-facto gay marriages.”

If that isn’t chilling, I don’t know what is.

It should be noted that the Regnerus study was also cited in legal arguments defending DOMA, in a brief filed by the “Alliance Defending Freedom,” a far-right anti-gay lobbying group. Their website describes same-sex parenting as “dangerous for children,” and they are major proponents of anti-gay reparative therapy (the notion that you can pray away the gay). Apparently the ‘freedom’ they want to defend is to be free to oppress others based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. For the sake of the children, of course.

How America’s religious right invented the Regnerus Study

Where did this flawed, biased, homophobic study come from? And who is doing the promoting worldwide? Ah, my friends, that’s the fascinating part (hat-tip to Lez Get Real for helping to connect the dots).

The story begins with the Witherspoon Institute, a right-wing religiously-oriented think tank based in Princeton NJ, whose primary causes are opposition to abortion, stem-cell research and (you guessed it) same-sex marriage. They’re the ones who provided nearly all of the funding for the Regnerus study. They’ve also been linked to the lead anti-”gay marriage” group National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and to Bill Donohue’s far-right Catholic League.

The main peer reviewer of the Regnerus study was W. Bradford Wilcox, program director at Witherspoon. (Yes, the blatant conflict of interest should’ve been obvious right from the start. However, Dr. James Wright, in charge of Elsevier’s journal, “Social Science Research,” which published this steaming pile of you-know-what, let it pass. Wright has drawn one hell of a lot of righteous flack for allowing it.)

More from Lez Get Real:

Not just incidentally, in August of 2011, before NFSS data collection occurred, Witherspoon paid for Regnerus and Wilcox to travel to Colorado, where for a full day they discussed study promotions in anti-gay-rights contexts with Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton, who says that homosexuality is a “particularly evil lie of Satan.”

It would appear that as early as September 2010, NOM was especially interested in the project. Actually, more than interested, in that Robert George, NOM’s founder and “chairman emeritus,” was key in conceiving and funding the study.

George arranged for the $785,000 in funding for the Regnerus study, in fact, funneling it through Witherspoon and the Bradley Foundation, where George is on the board of directors. (Hat-tip to Wayne Besen.) In one email, Mark Regnerus says to Wilcox that he’d like to learn more about “marriage equality”-hating diva Maggie Gallagher’s hopes for the project. Yep, ole Maggie had her pudgy thumbs in the pie, too.

So there we have it.

NOM’s founder arranged for Regnerus’ funding.

And W. Bradley Wilcox at Witherspoon, who funneled the bulk of the money for the project, served as the peer reviewer, an obvious conflict of interest.

Their entire goal was to create a ‘scientific’ smokescreen to support their agenda of anti-gay repression.

Gay Parents

Enemies of the state. (Gay Parents via Shutterstock)

And now, around the world, NOM and its anti-gay allies — the Catholic League, and religious right gay-haters like AFA, FRC, Focus on the Family, and so on — are lobbying governments to pass anti-gay legislation. Their go-to tool is their own home-grown “Protocols of the Elders of Castro,” the Regnerus study, fraudulently touted as peer-reviewed scientific proof that gays are dangerous to children.

When all it is, is proof that conservatives are dangerous to science.


Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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  • StraightGrandmother

    Blankenhorn DELETED my comment where I said Rauch is NOT respected in the gay community. Blankenhorn mistakenly believes that by partnering up with Rauch, that Rauch is bringing the whole gay community with him. No lie, Blankenhorn really believes that.

  • etseq

    Yup – when he died, they local Virginia paper wrote up a fawning obit in which his wife complained that gay activists “misunderstood” his position and that he wasn’t anti-gay, just pro-children. Yea right – even after death he continued with his propaganda….

  • etseq

    Oh I can’t stand Ruach – he has been a right wing gay nag for years. He is besties with Blankenhorn – at least Andrew Sullivan has moved to the left over the years since he first wrote about gay marriage in the 1990s – Rauch has always been a stuck up jerk…And no gay person I know likes or respects him…

  • StraightGrandmother

    All the straights like Conservative Johnathan Rauch because he is non threatening. He told Blankenhorn at a forum in Minnesota that the Courts should NOT decide Equal Protection for Gay Marriage cases, instead it should be a popular vote, because then it is more “Real.” Blankenhorn particularly LOVES to hole Johnathan Rauch up as a “Great Gay Leader”

    http://familyscholars.org/2012/10/11/a-conversation-on-marriage/

  • StraightGrandmother

    And don’t forget Nock at University of Virginia AND Brad Wilcox also at the University of Virginia

  • etseq

    Nock is the common thread to alot of these academics and he is the reason I think James Wright was so defensive about this whole deal. He was buddy buddy with Nock on that covenant marriage work and I guess shares some of his conservative views on marriage. I don’t get the feeling Wright is anti-gay just not very pro-gay and willing to sacrifice gay people to advance his career….Nock also was an inspiration for Marks, Allen, and Schumm who constantly attack the existing science on LGBT families. In fact, those three really are just regurgitating Nock’s stupid affidavit he filed in the Canadian case…These guys aren’t very original nor very smart but they are well funded and prolific as hell…

  • etseq

    Yes it is the same Charles Murray. Funny thing is he recently came out in support of same sex marriage! He was friends with Jonathan Rauch like Blankenhorn was so once it become personal he changed his tune….

  • marcpaige

    The frightening thing about this article, is that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are still being used, over 100 years later, to demonize Jews, particularly in Muslim and Arab nations. We cannot let our guard down about the repugnant and bogus Regnerus study, which only seemed to prove that kids have better outcomes in families where the parents don’t have affairs.

  • Clari York

    I couldn’t agree more.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Orlando Real Estate

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ‘cheap’ troll move along now

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Troll on yawn….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m guessing you don’t understand what the word ‘plagiarism’ actually means.

  • Jay

    You put some links into the blog, but you did not credit the individuals who made the discoveries. There is something cheap about your refusal to credit the people who did the hard work here.

  • Jay

    The Russian and French connections (and almost everything else about the Regnerus hoax) has been uncovered by Scott Rose. You should give him credit. The only original thing in this post is the Elders of Zion bit, which is a great stretch. A good blogger gives credit. You are engaging in a form of plagiarism. Stop it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    She’s the reason I wrote the post. Because I had a suspicion there was something more ‘there’ — and it turns out there was.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Much better and clearer

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I tweaked the post title to say “THE Castro.” Hopefully that’ll help with the confusion.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Lots of people have covered the study in general. My goal in this post was to point out how it was being used *today* by groups in France and Russia to push their anti-gay agendas and legislation.

    You might notice there’s no shortage of links in that post up there. BTB isn’t the only website that’s covered Regnerus in depth.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Hon, I just have the sense that you are the kind of person that once gets their curiosity piqued you remain unsettled until you get the the bottom of it. I know you don’t do this full time, I’m am just trying to throw things out there that I noticed and am hoping you will bite ;p Things don’t have to turn around tomorrow. But I bet once you get going I just have a certain feeling about you that when you can squeeze it in, you’ll go for answers. I’m not a blogger either, and I don’t write near well enough like you do to be one. So the most I can do is point things out in a comment and hope somebody picks up on it.

    One thing I do know, there were no out of State in person interviews for the NFSS, so why did the Grant money pay for people to go do that? Was that part of the IRB he filed, that he would be interviewing people? I would FOIA that, the IRB that was approved. I imagine you would just reference those 3 grant numbers shown on the Accounting Records and ask to see the approved IRB for those 3 Grant Numbers. You can see what John Beker wrote in to Texas to get the Sherkat information, what he sent to Texas. It does not look complicated to me to make a request for records at U Texas. It looks pretty simple. Hopefully I’ll read more from you, I enjoy it.

  • WilmRoget

    I’m not much of a fan of the folks at Box Turtle Bulletin, but to be fair, they did cover most of this material in depth over the last year:
    http://tinyurl.com/m4uu5dw

    I’m kind of surprised someone could research Regnerus and his study, and not discover the wealth of material that was presented at Box Turtle Bulletin. And for all their faults, the authors there do deserve credit for their work.

  • scottrose

    As described above, in the case of its Professor Charles Groat, UT finally had no choice but to have independent outside investigators investigate.

    The President of the American Sociological Association has signed a letter to Wright and his editorial board, outlines the known ethical shortfalls in the publication of the Regnerus article, and telling him that the intellectual integrity of his journal depends on the Regnerus article being retracted. In his explanation of why he is boycotting “Social Science Research” for as long as Wright is editor, Dr. Philip Cohen includes that Regnerus lied in his paper about the involvement of the study funders in the study.

    The case against Regnerus is at least as strong as the case was against Groat.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The UT board is appointed by the right-wing governor, approved by the right-wing state senate. I don’t know much about the process for a university conducting an inquiry into itself on grounds of scientific and intellectual impropriety, but you can be pretty sure that any such activity going on at UT is going to be little more than an exercise in either denial that any wrongdoing occurred, or when the heat gets too much, covering their asses.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I never said accounting records were boring, not when they have a story of corruption and conspiracies-in-plain-sight to tell. This looks very promising. All I’m saying is John’s invitation to blog sometimes for him is purely part-time (and usually off-hours) for me, because I’ve currently got a whole bunch of paying work (yay) that has to take priority.

    In other words, I can chase down some information, but I’m no pro.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I have documented many but not all of the instances of Regnerus world wide. In Twitter search #Regnerus There are going to be a whole bunch from last week as I was tweeting to all those Sociologists who were having their annual convention. But if you scroll backwards you will find them.

    Becca, I know accounting records are boring, I get that. But exposing fraud (and I think it is there), hey don’t you think that would be pretty big? Because that would Remover Regnerus from his position and it would effectively take the study away from the groups that are using it. Nock & Wright & Dr. Sanchez co-wrote the Covenant Marriage book. You can tell by the e-mails she was TOTALLY against getting right wing orgs to promote their book. Sanchez to me, comes off looking very honorable. I bet after you listen to those You Tube videos you will want to e-mail that Professor from Indiana. Nobody has written about that. You can do an e-mail interview. Pose the questions via e-mail & he answers back via e-mail. You are going to be surprised after you listen to the YouTube Videos.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I saw that. Thank you.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Hi there. This is all very interesting and I’ll take a look, but I have to say though that I’m not a professional journalist or even a full-time blogger like John.

    This certainly looks like an intriguing angle, but the one I’m currently digging on is to find more concrete links between those who conceived of and arranged for funding the study (i.e., NOM and people connected directly to them) and exactly how and where it went from an obscure study by an obscure right-wing researcher in an obscure journal to being the source of nearly all the anti-gay lobbying and talking points worldwide.

    Open comment: For those wanting to know more, here’s the John Becker site:

    http://www.johnmbecker.com/

    I just took a quick look through his ‘Regnerus Doc Dump’ (Aug 10), and it makes for fascinating reading. Jim Wright’s name appears in many of the emails, and in a few of them, he speaks openly of Maggie Gallagher “helping us out” (with respect to Steve Nock’s covenant marriage book project).

  • StraightGrandmother

    I got a big tip for you on something I think will totally bust Regnerus, I wrote it up in a comment lower down.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Becca, here, here I got something else that nobody else has even noticed. If you look at the docs released by John Becker there are maybe 5 or 6 of them that are accounting records. This is who got paid out by the university as they administerd the Grant money form Witherspoon.

    There is a woman, who got paid Wickham, or Hickam, anyway she is from Indiana. She is a secretary at the University of Notre Dame. She invoiced Regnerus for transcribing interviews. However there were NO interviews in the Regnerus study. In e-mails that Sofia Resnick had published Regnerus asks Luis Telez of Witherspoon if Witherspoon will buy out part of his spring semester so that he can work on his book. I don’t knowto much about how that works but apparently a professor can work on a research project or something and that entity can pay the University XX amount of money to free up the Prof so that they don’t teach a full load and instead use that time to work on thier project.

    That is what Regnerus asked Telez to do to buy out part of his spring semester so that he would only teach one class for the spring of 2012 so he could work on his book. And his book is done by interviewing people. If you look at the accounting records he sent two different people out of state to conduct interviews. And they got paid with the Witherspoon Grant money. BUT there were NO interviews as part of the New Family Structures Study. It looks to me like he fraudulently stuffed expenses for his book and billed them under the New Family Structures Study Grant money. Look at the accounting records John Becker Released.

    And not only that if you do research on humans or on animals you ahve to go before what is called an IRB, Institutional Review Board. You have to tell them what you are going to do and they have to approve it to make sure that you are not harming people or animals in the process of you doing research. I would want to know if he told the IRB at the University of Texas Austin that he would be conducting in person interviews?

    It looks to me like John is planning on asking for the Accounts Payable Voucher Reuests on some of the expenses Regnerus billed to the Grant money, you should ask for them too. Anybody can file a Freedom of Information Act Request. The accounting records show balance sheets and then on “some” of the payments they paid, they provided the Accounts Payable Voucher Request” (Regnerus signs a form pay this guy this amount and here is what they did, that is the voucher request). Anyway the University only provided some of the Vouchers. I think you should ask for the missing ones, the ones they didn’t provide.

    I would also file a Freedom Of Information Act for the transcripts (the output) of that woman in Indiana (Wickam, Hickham?) who got paid under the grant money. I will bet the hole against the doughnut that the transcripts are going to be transcripts that Regnerus used in his book. In other words I think, it looks like Regnerus fraudulently submitted expenses to the Witherspoon Grant that was really expenses for his book. I think you can loose your job for submitting fraudulent payment requests. And that would also be an additional ethics violation of the American Sociological Association.

    Who the hell was he interviewing for the New Family Structures Study? Because he submitted a lot of requests for payments related to two assistants going out of State and conducting interviews.

    Becca you could REALLY run with this. Just look at those accounting records Becker Published. I think it is 5 or 6 files. I think Wright will be forced to retract once John Becker gets the records that he is suing them for and I will bet, my hunch, I will bet that Regnerus submitted fraudent payment requests, sutted in expenses that was for his latest book, stuffed those under the NFSS Grant.

  • scottrose

    But to take the specific example of Regnerus’s University of Texas at Austin (UT):

    Another professor there, Charles Groat, did a study on fracking wastewater, concluding that it is non-toxic. Groat, however, did not disclose that he sits on the board of a fracking industry company and holds $500K in its stock. When the conflict of interest was first brought to UT’s attention, the school tried to sweep the dirt under the carpet. Then, a public interest group prepared a published a report about the scandal. At that point, UT was forced to do an actual investigation. Groat and his superior left the school in disgrace.

    In response to our Public Information Act requests, UT sent letters to the Texas Attorney General seeking exceptions to our requests. In those letters, UT defined itself as a co-investor in the Regnerus study. And that is to say that when UT did its sham “inquiry” — not an investigation, an “inquiry” — it had a conflict of interest. Moreover, in one letter to the AG, UT revealed that some of its officials had strategized with Regnerus about public relations for the study, long in advance of its being published. The school feared for “branding implications for the school as a whole.” There would never be that specific concern, over a scientific study carried out honestly. It is egregious that at the same time that UT officials were scheming with Regnerus to B.S. the public about this study, Regnerus was also scheming with both his anti-gay-rights funders and his dishonorable journal editor, James Wright of Elsevier’s “Social Science Research” who rigged the peer review of both the Marks and Regnerus papers. A school can always explain the scientific side of a study — it is unheard of to prepare for negative backlash because a study was rigged by an anti-minority hate group.

    UT’s own site for the Regnerus study continues to make false claims for it. The home page, for example, says that the study is of “young adults raised by same-sex parents.” In his paper, Regnerus lied about the involvement of his funders in his study. This can not be allowed to stand at Regnerus’s University of Texas at Austin.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Jonathan, there is actually a connection to Murray also.
    On the John Becker just released docs, the ones out of the University of Texas
    Wilcox is e-mailing Regnerus and they are talking about how he should construct different family groups. (Single parents, Divorced etc.) Wilcox tells Regnerus that he should use the SAME Family Structures as Murray. I figure it is the SAME Bell Curve Murray becaus of the dates that are on the e-mails there was a bg blow up going on about that same Bell Curve Murray.

    8 DAYS before Regnerus turned in his paper he & Wilcox are discussing how to present different family groups THEN Wilcox is a Peer Reviewer? And don’t forget Regnerus turned his paper in on February 1, 2012 he did not get the last of the respondents records (data file) until February 22, 2012. He turned in his paper before the data company had even sent him all the records.

    http://www.scribd.com/JohnMBecker/documents

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thanks. Again, you deserve the credit for motivating me to look into the Regnerus study. So thank you very much for that.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Becca, it is even worse than you think. The American Sociological Association just had thier annual meeting last week and they had a meeting on Regnerus. CJ Pascoe put the videos up, you should look at them. Call that guy in Indiana and interview him. A full 1/3 of the supposed Lesbian Mothers the real scientist threw out. People who had said that their birth mother was 80 years old when they were born etc. The data was CRAP.

    Here is the link to the Videos on You Tube Look for CJ Pascoe channel

    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UClDlC5QiuhaQ0_wERXXR-Uw?feature=watch

    I WOULD LOVE it if you would interview the Professor from Indiana and write another story.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’d be glad to give him due credit if you provided some links to information I did not gather and synthesize myself.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but I gave many hat-tips and credit-links to those people who did the legwork I used to leverage my post.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thank you.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Strepsi, “commissioned by Canada’s department of Justice in 2003 with our own marriage battles.”

    The recently released docs through John Becker show that Steven Nock who filed an anti gay parenting affidavit in that Toronto Court Case that brought Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities to Canada, Nock & the Editor who published Regnerus, James Wright, Wright & Nock were having Maggie Gallagher help them get funding for their own anti gay parenting study just 3 years before Wilcox got money for Regnerus to do his anti gay parenting study. Did you read the docs just released by John Becker?

    http://www.scribd.com/JohnMBecker/documents

    (you might have to refresh once to get the docs to show)

  • StraightGrandmother

    The Regnerus study is the answer. Not just simply because it’s “out
    there” but because groups like NOM, AFA, FRC and their international
    allies are actively promoting its use.

    THAT IS IT BECCA!!!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep

  • Monoceros Forth

    Heh. Would you believe the analogy with the Bible didn’t occur to me until later? But it’s true. There’s a larger point to be made here about the essentially authoritarian nature of right-wing thinking and its monomaniacal focus on “point sources” of authority that are supposed to override all others. This is applied in a negative fashion as well; for example, the bogus story that Darwin recanted on his deathbed is supposed to override all other evidence for the mechanism of natural selection, as if the theory of evolution by natural selection rested solely on Darwin’s authority and not a huge mass of other evidence.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Actually, she’s a physiologist, and is a fully licensed therapist. Which is truly disturbing. But it is just proof that having an ivy league education doesn’t make you any smarter nor any less susceptible to nonsense. Having no morals and being paid to be a bigot trumps a hundred thousand dollars of degree programs.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Hell, they’ve even created their own universities, so they can churn out their own “experts” to back up their long-debunked nonsense.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Like Dr, Laura, who with her degree in statistics or something pretends to be a psychologist using her academic PhD in a slight of hand to give her cracked-pot views and skeezy personal history a veneer of gravitas

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    All you have to do is get a degree of some sort, to have some letters after your name providing proof of how smart and professional you are, and then peddle yourself to the highest bidder. It happens all the time with corporations that want to try and come up with something to prove their obviously flawed point. Big tobacco did it. Oil companies do it all the time. Now food producers are doing it. They pay someone to come to the conclusions they want, regardless of the facts of the matter. Money will make some people stoop to any level. Some people, like Regnerus, were already stooping, and the money was just icing on the cake.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Got it—-lived on 19th and Castro for a few years!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ” it could be a hundred years old and it would still be relevant so long as bigots are still citing it as authoritative.” Maybe James troll never heard of the Bible—a mostly forged old document that’s old news

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Old News Troll is concerned.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Runs screaming from the room after electro-shock failed and still gay!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    pppffffttt

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brilliant, informative and scary as hell. Scratch the surface of a religious conservative fascist and you find: Satan’s true lie –Betty Bowers. Well done Becca.

  • Jay

    Good article, but you really should give credit to Scott Rose, who has been indefatigable in investigating this travesty. He is the one who discovered most of what you present here.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Heh heh…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh gawd… don’t even get me started on Skinner. lol

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Step 1: Abandon any sense of decency or ethics.

    Step 2: ???

    Step 3: Profit!

  • Randy

    $700.000 for making shit up? Where do I sign up!

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Yep.

    Since I started college in 1974, I’ve been particularly concerned about science and the limits of judicial and legislative competence. There’s too much on the frontiers of knowledge for anyone to keep up with. This is a phenomena I understand. But it’s inexcusable that the editorial and peer review process did not function better here, among the professionals.

    Perhaps someday this will become a case study in Social Science publishing akin to Chomsky’s devastating review of B.F. Skinner in years past.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    One of the details I found fascinating (among so many others), was how the study appears to follow most of the necessary forms of modern scientific inquiry. Hence, the casual non-scientific sort (i.e., legislators, regular folks) can see that paper and think, “Well, this isn’t unreasonable.”

    It’s only if you dig — and you have to dig deep — before you realize that nearly all of the supposedly “gay parent” households were (1) not really technically gay people and (2) selected with a bias towards troubled families.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yes, that’s exactly the point — and part of the chronology.

    Around 2009-2010, the radical conservative rightists — including members of NOM and their allied anti-gay hate groups — were concerned that we could point to scientific studies showing that being gay is an inherent trait, not a choice; that anti-gay raparative therapy consistently did far more damage than good (and didn’t work); that being well-adjusted was the appropriate, healthy way to cope with one’s sexual orientation. Concerned, because they didn’t have anything perceived to be reputable or legitimate to “prove” there was something bad about being a gay person.

    Most of all, they wanted something they could submit in court cases and legislatures — not just in the U.S., but worldwide — to fight the growing tide of marriage equality.

    So they came up with this study. Supposedly ‘independendent, and allegedly having gone through the formal peer-review process.

    But they were going to ensure they got the results they wanted. And did so through non-random selection and “apples vs oranges” biases analyses. Plus, as I noted above, they arranged both for the funding and the fraudulent peer review.

    Ever since it’s been published, they and their anti-gay allies have been using it in case after case. Moreover, one of the details that jumped out at me was to wonder, “Why are these groups in France, the legislators in Russia and in African nations, all now suddenly using the “gays are bad for children” talking points? Where did this come from?”

    The Regnerus study is the answer. Not just simply because it’s “out there” but because groups like NOM, AFA, FRC and their international allies are actively promoting its use.

  • Indigo

    Living in Florida, I assumed that Castro referred to the retired leader of the Cuban Revolution but for the life of me, I couldn’t put that one together as an echo of the Protocols. I must learn to look beyond the peninsula, perhaps to the north . . .

    ohandbytheway, The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco is a wonderful fictionalized version of how the background material in The Protocols of Zion came together and the role of the Vatican in assembling all that.

  • nicho

    What crap. Are you from the AFA or the Mormon cult?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, that was the reference. Sorry if it was a tad obtuse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m cool with it John. Already grown that extra layer of skin.

  • Jonathan_Justice

    Pay attention to the parallels to “The Bell Curve”. Murray took a pile of conservative foundation money to run similarly fraudulent comparisons to give ammo to opponents of racial equality in general and affirmative action in particular. My reason for pointing out this old stuff is to suggest that we should recognize lies of this sort as a fairly typical approach to defending privilege when people are largely catching on to the ways that defending a given set of privileges costs more than it is worth. Adherence to these particular packs of lies becomes a marker for adherence to a broader, and even more distasteful political program of ostensibly conservative politics. One might point to the damage done to the American South by adherence to the Lost Cause rhetoric-the rise of Jim Crow, crushing educational deficiencies, exclusion from the expanding economy, low wage exploitation by the worst of the ruling class, and then decades of uprooting the social structures that resulted, as reason to nip this stuff in the bud.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Thanks. That eluded me.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I assumed it was a reference to the area of San Francisco. I always told my husband that the Castro was his mother ship.

  • Strepsi

    Despite Americablog’s flair for the hysterical in his headlines, this is an important article! And hardly old news – not a week goes by that some anti-gay hate group “proves” that being gay is “bad for the children” with this article. Brilliant COmmenter “StraightGrandmother” has tracked use of this anti-gay study to France and Russia.

    Interestingly Australia and Canada have both done ACTUAL scientific studies — one commissioned by Canada’s department of Justice in 2003 with our own marriage battles. It showed that children of same-sex parents were equally well-adjusted, and kids of 2 lesbian mothers were the BEST-adjusted! After our Conservative government came into office the report was filed in a warehouse somewhere, just underneath the Ark of the Covenant.

    http://hour.ca/2007/06/07/the-kids-are-alright/

  • Monoceros Forth

    First, the comparison between the study and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion seems entirely inapt.

    I disagree. The point is that both are forged documents used to justify persecution. Furthermore it hardly matters how old the study is (and, as pointed out elsewhere, it’s not that old anyway) so long as it is currently cited as an excuse for anti-GLBT laws. Hell, it could be a hundred years old and it would still be relevant so long as bigots are still citing it as authoritative.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Start with a belief >>> Find or fabricate “data” which seems to ratify your belief >>> Write up a proclamation that your belief has been scientifically confirmed >>> Propagate the claim of a scientific basis for your preferred belief >>> Influence people who are not intellectually skilled or educated enough to legitimately critique your claim >>> Learn nothing. Repeat.

  • PeteWa

    your concern has been duly noted.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And that’s a spectacularly bitchy comment. The study is from one year ago, and it’s the latest, greatest anti-gay study that’s out – and the most dangerous. As for what’s new – the fact that it’s being used in Russia – a place kind of in the news lately – and in other countries. None of us knew that until very recently.

    Other than that, have a cup of coffee, or a valium, and thanks for showing Becca how it feels from my side of the aisle sometimes when I read the comments :)

  • James

    This is a spectacularly bad article. First, the comparison between the study and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion seems entirely inapt: the latter purported to be a plan for world domination BY Jewish people, not a scientific study OF Jewish people; a better parallel would be between After the Ball and the Protocols. Second, you say this is a “new” study, but it appears the be an old one. Third, everything in this article appears to be old news.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I don’t see the connection. Is Castro a reference to Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro.

  • CandySweet

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  • cole3244

    the religious right unlike the left base everything on faith and hate.

    those that subscribe to that way of thinking are like all bigots and prejudiced people they are ignorant but that word doesn’t really do justice to the evil they promote in the name of god and the holy books.

  • scottrose

    In April/May, 2013, a group of sociologists — including the President of the American Sociological Association, signed this letter to Regnerus editor James Wright, explaining why he must retract the Regnerus article. (Wright blew them off). A similarly-worded letter was sent to the full editorial board.

    LETTER TO JAMES WRIGHT, EDITOR.

    Dear Dr. Wright,

    We are a group of sociologists who are writing to ask you to retract the publication of Mark Regnerus’s “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Survey,” July 2012. We appreciate the internal review your journal conducted last year, but recent documents released through Freedom of Information Act requests as well as the first peer-reviewed article detailing the scientific flaws of the study indicate that this article should never have been published without serious revisions and thus should be retracted.

    Recent Freedom of Information Act documents have revealed a variety of issues with Regnerus’s study and your publication’s role in validating it as scientific research. In particular, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post,*

    “(t)he documents, recently obtained through public-records requests by The American Independent and published in collaboration with The Huffington Post, show that the Witherspoon Institute recruited a professor from a major university to carry out a study that was designed to manipulate public policy. In communicating with donors about the research project, Witherspoon’s president clearly expected results unfavorable to the gay-marriage movement.”

    That professor was, of course, Mark Regnerus.

    The following email from Witherspoon co-founder Luis Tellez, dated April 5, 2011, to a potential funder of Regnerus’s work ought to be enough to convince you that the research was severely compromised by a political agenda to influence the Supreme Court’s upcoming decisions regarding Proposition 8 and DOMA:

    “As you know, the future of the institution of marriage at this moment is very uncertain. It is essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society. That is what the NFSS is designed to do. Our first goal is to seek the truth, whatever that may turn out to be. Nevertheless, we are confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study as long as it is done honestly and well.”

    Tellez also wrote

    “It would be great to have this before major decisions of the Supreme Court but that is secondary to the need to do this and do it well… I would like you to take ownership and think of how you want it done… rather than someone like me dictating parameters… but of course, here to help.” [ellipses in original]”

    This indicates a direct relationship between a funder with a clear political agenda, a clear expected outcome for the research, and the researcher himself.

    Additional documents shed light on Professor W. Bradford Wilcox’s role in the study and his affiliation with the Witherspoon Institute. Wilcox was hired by UT to assist Regnerus with the data analysis and was simultaneously the director of Witherspoon’s Program on Family, Marriage and Democracy. The fact that Wilcox sits on the editorial board of your journal makes the issues surrounding this publication without revision, before the data was fully collected, and in a three-week turn around even more suspect. The further revelation that two of the three reviewers were part of the New Family Structure Survey compromises the peer review practices and does not represent best practices in journal editing. Despite being a clear conflict of interest, you allowed these reviewers to consider the validity of Regnerus’s paper that was itself reliant on this very study for its claims. In order to maintain the intellectual integrity of your journal, the article must be retracted.

    Finally, the publication of the first scholarly analysis of the New Family Structures Survey shows serious and substantive flaws. Had your review process been conducted with reviewers who were experts in the field and who were unconnected to the study itself, it is likely that they would have caught these flaws and required substantive revisions of the original paper. The analysis, by Andrew J. Perrin, Philip N. Cohen and Neal Caren, will be published by Gay and Lesbian Mental Health and was properly reviewed. (A preprint of it can be found at the link below **) It is clear from this analysis that there were serious mistakes in the data collection and data analysis. As the authors state,

    “Regnerus (2012a) fails to demonstrate that children from same-sex families display disadvantages.”

    As you know, a similar conclusion was reached by the American Sociological Association, which filed in an amicus brief to the Reese v. Witherspoon case, a case that also admitted Regnerus’s study as scientifically valid because your journal has refused to retract it.

    Dr. Wright, it is the understanding of this group of social scientists that had your journal taken the usual amount of time- 12 months in your journal’s case- to consider the Regnerus article, the article would not have seen the light of day in its current form. It was an error on the part of your journal in choosing reviewers who were not impartial and rushing to publication, an error that can only be corrected by retracting the article. We urge you to do just that.

    Sincerely,

  • scottrose

    There is a lot of blame to go around for the unethical behavior associated with the New Family Structures Study, but without question, Eslevier’s “Social Science Research” editor James Wright of the University of Central Florida is the worst of the actors, as the Regnerus and Marks papers would be nothing without having been published in a peer review journal. Dr. Philip Cohen — Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology at the University of Maryland, has explained why he is boycotting “Social Science Research” for as long as Wright is editor:

    “Taking for granted the unethical behavior of Regnerus, and Brad Wilcox, on whose behalf Regnerus acted, the real failure here is by Wright. Instead of seriously reviewing the paper, he essentially whispered into an echo chamber of backers and consultants, “We should publish this, right?”

    I believe the paper should be retracted because the conclusions are demonstrably wrong, because the author lied in the paper about the involvement of the institute that funded it, and because the peer review process was compromised by conflicts of interest. As long as this remains uncorrected, and James Wright remains editor, the integrity of the journal is indelibly tarnished.

    While Wright is editor, I will no longer review for or submit to Social Science Research. I hope others will join me in that decision.”

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The religious right has for decades been either creating fake studies (Cameron) or creatively misinterpreting real studies (FRC) in order to portray what’s down is up, etc.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    One of the posters, Straightgrandmother, has been worrying about this for awhile now. If you think about it, the study was a brilliant move by the Christianists. Sure it was a horrible thing to do, but it was brilliant.

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