The University of Texas at Austin says it has investigated and found no evidence of research misconduct in a study that found adult children from “gay” families are “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” than children from traditional mom-and-dad households.
“The University of Texas at Austin has determined that no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research,” the school announced yesterday.
It said a four-member advisory panel of senior university faculty members was consulted and an outside consultant, Alan Price, was asked to review the charges as part of the university inquiry into allegations made by Scott Rosensweig in a letter to the school.
The conclusion was that the issues raised fell under the clause that “ordinary errors, good faith differences in interpretations of or judgments of data, scholarly or political disagreements, good faith personal or professional opinions, or private moral and ethical behavior or views are not misconduct.”
The university said it considers the issue closed after school Research Integrity Officer Robert Peterson told officials “none of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth by Mr. [Rosensweig was] substantiated either by physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews.”
He wrote “there is no evidence” to support Rosensweig’s inference that because he believed the research was flawed, there must be scientific misconduct.
Regnerus had written a commentary about his study for Slate.com. He said that one “notable theme” among adult children of same-sex parents who reported higher levels of “male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood” than children of mom-and-dad households was “household instability, and plenty of it.”
He explained his study “collected data from a large, random cross-section of American young adults – apart from the census, the largest population-based dataset prepared to answer research questions about households in which mothers or fathers have had same-sex relationships.”
“The differences, it turns out, were numerous. For instance, 28 percent of the adult children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships are currently unemployed, compared to 8 percent of those from married mom-and-dad families. Forty percent of the former admit to having had an affair while married or cohabiting, compared to 13 percent of the latter. Nineteen percent of the former said they were currently or recently in psychotherapy for problems connected with anxiety, depression, or relationships, compared with 8 percent of the latter. And those are just three of the 25 differences I noted.”
He said the bottom line of the study is that “social scientists, parents, and advocates would do well from here forward to avoid simply assuming the kids are all right.”
In a commentary, also in Slate, William Saletan wrote, “Mark Regnerus is a hateful bigot. … His new research paper on same-sex parenting is ‘intentionally misleading’ and ‘seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents’ … His ‘junk science’ … deserve[s] no coverage or credence.”
Rosensweig had alleged there were problems with Regenerus’ “seeming falsification of data,” “seemingly inadequate, inappropriate research design,” his “possible bad-faith, invalid comparison” and that he “seemingly feeds into NOM’s defamatory conflation of homosexuals with pedophiles.”
But the university determined “since no evidence was provided to indicate that the behavior at issue rose to a level of scientific misconduct, no formal investigation is warranted.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom said the New Family Structures Study “suggests that differences exist in outcomes for young adults raised in various environmental with different family experiences.”
“America’s universities should always serve as truth-seeking, free marketplaces of ideas,” said David Hacker, ADF senior legal counsel. “Disagreeing with a study’s conclusions is not grounds for allegations of scientific misconduct” ando “we are not surprised that those accusations were found to be baseless.
“This comprehensive, peer-reviewed research study consisted of leading scholars and researchers across disciplines and ideological lines in a spirit of civility and reasoned inquiry. We agree with the AT-Austin inquiry’s conclusions.”