Horrifically anti-gay Regnerus study conceived at top GOP think tank Heritage

The NYT revealed this weekend that the horrifically anti-gay “Regenerus” study, named after its author Mark Regnerus, which suggests that gay parents push their children to suicide, was conceived at the top Republican think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

The study has been roundly discredited by academics, but that hasn’t stopped it from being touted by the religious right as a silver bullet to stymie, and reverse, gay rights advances in the US and abroad.

Awful Regenerus study was conceived at the GOP’s Heritage Foundation

Here’s the NYT on the Republican origins of the Regnerus study:

In meetings hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington in late 2010, opponents of same-sex marriage discussed the urgent need to generate new studies on family structures and children, according to recent pretrial depositions of two witnesses in the Michigan trial and other participants. One result was the marshaling of $785,000 for a large-scale study by Mark Regnerus, a meeting participant and a sociologist at the University of Texas who will testify in Michigan.


Mark Rengerus, author of debunked anti-gay study that an internal auditor called “bullsh*t.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Regnerus study is so bad that even the journal that published it launched an internal audit that found the study to be “bullsh*t.”

The main problem with the study, which supposedly is about whether gay parenting is good or bad for kids, is that it’s not terribly clear that it includes any kids who were actually raised by gay parents.

Most of the children the study examined only spent a small period of their childhood with one or more gay parents. Thus, whatever “damage” the kids carried to adulthood could have easily happened during the majority of their childhood spent with heterosexual parents.

But hey, why let a small thing like facts interfere with the Republican party’s sad ongoing campaign to harm gay people worldwide.

Heritage-Regnerus study is used worldwide to hurt gays

The Heritage-Regnerus study has now traveled the globe, and is being used to harm gay people in Russia, Poland, France (where the Catholic church has reportedly been busy disseminating it), and Africa.


In Russia, which is in the middle of a horrific crackdown on gay and trans people, the Heritage-Regnerus study has been widely used to promote anti-gay legislation and animus.

US religious right leader Brian Brown of NOM testified before the Duma in favor of anti-gay legislation, and cited the Regnerus study.  As a result, the Russians came up with legislation to take children away from gay parents, and the authors of the bill cite the Regnerus study as their justification.  From Russian news service RIA Novosti:

A bill that proposes stripping gays with children of their parental rights was introduced in the lower house of the Russian parliament by a lawmaker from the ruling party on Thursday.

The bill is a follow-up to legislation introduced in June that bans propagation of “gay propaganda among minors,” according to the document’s text, available on the State Duma’s website.

“Harm that could be inflicted on a child’s mental health in case of their parent’s homosexual contacts is immense,” the bill’s author, United Russia party member Andrei Zhuravlyov, said in a note accompanying the document.

The bill cited a controversial 2012 study by US sociologist Mark Regnerus as proof that gay parenting distorts a child’s sexual orientation and increases suicidal tendencies, social ineptitude and risks of catching venereal disease.

Here’s the Hertiage-Regnerus study being discussed in Russia only a few months before that country passed its draconian crackdown on its gay and trans citizens last summer (I left Google Translate on, it’s a good enough translation to see how the Russians fell for the study, hook, line and sinker:



Heritage-Regnerus was also cited in Russia as “proof” that gay parents rape their own children.


In France, some gay rights advocates credit the Heritage-Regnerus study with galvanizing the French far right, which includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the Catholic church, and the French UMP conservative party into fighting back, sometimes violently, against France’s recent legalization of gay nuptials.

Austria, Croatia, Poland, England and Wales

The study was also cited in a lesbian second-parent-adoption case out of Austria in the European Court of Human Rights, was used by anti-gay bigots in Croatia to push a gay marriage ban in that country, was used by anti-gay forces in England and Wales in an attempt to stop the legalization of gay marriage, and was used to help thwart civil unions legislation in Poland.


Regnerus has also been cited as justification for Africa’s vicious crackdown on gay rights, including anti-gay efforts in Zambia:


United States

And in the US, the Heritage-Regnerus study was used in legal arguments defending DOMA, and has been cited in cases in Nevada, Michigan, and a number of other states.  The state of Utah even used the Heritage-Regnerus study in its recent efforts to fight gay marriage in that state.

Just how bad is the Heritage-Regnerus anti-gay study?

It is difficult to overstate just how horrid this GOP-inspired anti-gay “study” really is.  Our own Becca Morn did a series of essays about the Regnerus study, before we knew that Heritage was to blame for it. Here’s Becca’s summation of the 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.

And just how bad is Mark Regnerus himself?

Mark Regnerus recently went off recently about his concern that gay marriage, and America’s tolerance of gays generally, have somehow emboldened straight men to try anal sex.


“If gay marriage is perceived as legitimate by heterosexual women, it will eventually embolden boyfriends everywhere — and not a few husbands — to press for what men have always historically wanted but were rarely allowed: sexual novelty in the form of permission to stray without jeopardizing their primary relationship. Discussion of openness in sexual partners in straight marriages will become more common, just as the practice of heterosexual anal sex got a big boost from the normalization of gay men’s sexual behavior in both contemporary porn and in the American imagination.”

Thanks for elevating such a magnificent mind, Heritage Foundation.

The GOP: Doing all it can to harm as many gay people as possible in America and around the world.  GOPOS.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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