Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

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Is Right Wing Funded Study Academic Freedom or Fraud, Asks TWO

Burlington, Vt. – Truth Wins Out launched a petition today calling on University of Texas at Austin to investigate a junk science study by UT professor Mark Regnerus that falsely portrayed gay parents as unfit. The research is clearly a political hit job, and it appears that Regnerus may have manipulated his interpretation of the data to please the virulently anti-gay foundations that funded his pseudo-scientific study. TWO’s petition already has more than 2,670 signatures.

“An investigation is sorely needed to get to the bottom of how an inferior, politically loaded study found its way onto a mainstream campus at the expense of the institution’s academic integrity,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “What we are looking at with this study is the equivalent of an ugly push poll or a nasty robo call — with footnotes to give it a veneer of academic legitimacy.”

Indeed, the study was funded with a $695,000 grant from the Witherspoon Institute and a $90,000 grant from the archconservative Bradley Foundation. Most ominously, Princeton professor Robert P. George is a key member of Witherspoon. George has been affiliated with the Family Research Council and is a founder of the notoriously anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.

Regnerus wrote in Slate that children of same-sex parents experience greater “household instability” than others, and that it could be too much of a “social gamble” to “support this new (but tiny) family form.” One look at the study, however, reveals his conclusions to be without merit and lacking any basis in sound science.

“Gay parenting is not a gamble, but Regnerus’ study is a scientifically bankrupt house of cards,” said TWO’s Besen. “While Regnerus is trying to bill his work as the ‘gold standard’ of research, upon closer inspection his work looks more like fool’s gold.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) said this week that leading mental health organizations “have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation.” This is based on “a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children.”

TWO’s petition called for the University of Texas to immediately launch an investigation to determine whether Regnerus’ research was truly independent, or if he worked in concert with anti-gay activists to smear loving gay parents and harm their children. Was the goal to produce legitimate science, or to manufacture a political club for use in an election year with marriage equality on the ballot in four states?

“Creating studies with predetermined results is not academic freedom, but academic fraud,” said TWO’s Besen. “Given the evidence, University of Texas should find out if the results of this study were cooked.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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