The conservative right continues to invest heavily in defending a seriously flawed study by University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus that claims same-sex parenting harms children, even though only two of the individuals in the study were actually raised by same-sex couples. An internal audit conducted by the academic journal that originally printed Regnerus’ paper found his conclusions to be “bullshit.” Focus on the Family president Jim Daly is the latest to come to the study’s defense, choosing to paint Regnerus as a victim of media persecution, even though the conclusions he made are not substantiated by the data he collected:
DALY: Professor Regnerus wasn’t being attacked because his research lacked academic rigor — in fact, his peer-reviewed study was by far the largest, most statistically valid study on the topic to be done. He was being attacked because his scientific findings didn’t square with the liberal perspective. When it comes to this topic of homosexual parenting, numerous other studies have been published that utilized all kinds of sloppy techniques, all intended to generate a desired outcome — that children do just fine in homosexual households. None of the professors who have conducted those studies have been subjected to similar investigations, even though their bias is obvious and their work deeply flawed.
Daly conveniently ignores that the “numerous” other studies are, in fact, decades of research that have withstood ample criticism. Many have been convenience samples to ensure that the families being studied are actual committed same-sex couples raising children, as opposed to the hodgepodge of unstable “parents who have a had a same-sex relationship” that Regnerus used as a qualifier. The American Psychological Association had enough data in 2004 to issue a policy statement supporting same-sex adoption, well before there was even data available about families that could legally marry. The APA and other medical organizations have dismissed Regnerus’ paper as “gravely misleading” because it “sheds no light on the parenting of stable, committed same-sex couples.”
It’s particularly telling that conservatives are now defining the study in terms of a character attack on Regnerus. The problem with his conclusions is not that they conflict with the “liberal perspective,” but because they conflict with his own data and all other scientific research conducted on the subject. This is not a fight being waged over facts, but a campaign to demonize the millions of children being raised by same-sex couples.