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Michigan to call discredited sociologist to stand as expert witness in marriage equality trial

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Michigan state sealMichigan’s getting its very own Prop 8-like marriage equality trial, as we found out last month when Judge Bernard Friedman chose not to issue a summary judgment in a lesbian couple’s challenge to the state’s marriage and adoption laws, opting instead for a full trial in late February.

Just this weekend, JoeMyGod reported that Michigan would call Mark Regnerus, author of a controversial and arguably discredited study on gay parents that was reportedly timed to influence the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop 8, as an expert witness.  Other witnesses on Michigan’s list include Brigham Young University Professor Joseph Price, who co-authored a pro-DOMA brief submitted to the Supreme Court, and Simon Fraser University Professor Douglas Allen, who sits on the board of directors for the NOM-affiliate Ruth Institute, a rabidly anti-gay group.

Here’s how ThinkProgress described Regnerus and his infamous study in a blog post about the Michigan witness list:

An internal audit by the journal that published Regnerus’ study found his conclusions to be “bullshit,” and many academics, including the American Sociological Association, have condemned its results. Regnerus himself has admitted that the study doesn’t address same-sex parenting, but that hasn’t stopped him from using it to repeatedly speak outagainst marriage equality — as recently as this month in Hawaii — which he was coached to do by anti-gay groups.

That “bullshit” quote isn’t hyperbole: it’s from a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education in which Darren Sherkat, a sociology professor and a member of the editorial board for the journal in which Regnerus’s study was published who conducted an internal review of the paper after it was challenged by pro-LGBT advocates, used the colorful language to bluntly dismiss Regnerus’s study.

John Becker at the Bilerico Project has filed a legal challenge seeking records pertaining to the publishing of Regnerus’s study, and while a judge has compelled the University of Central Florida to disclose the records, the university has so for refused to do so.  Becker’s attorney, Andrea Mogensen, has filed a motion for contempt against UCF.

It seems Judge Friedman’s trial will be quite a colorful one, to say the least.


  • 1. sfbob  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I wonder if Mr Regnerus has ever been called to defend his work in court, under oath. Indeed the hearing's going to be an interesting one. I wonder if the Prop 8 legal team could be called in to cross-examine him.

  • 2. ebohlman  |  November 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Before he gets to that point, the court will have to conduct a Daubert hearing to determine whether his "research" even qualifies as expert scientific evidence. This will require, among other things, showing that his work is "relevant to the task at hand" and rests "on a reliable foundation". Since his study included at most two children raised by same-sex couples, these will be rather hard to demonstrate.

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    His conclusions are biased and his funding is suspect, but plenty of other "experts" have been certified by courts with worse credentials than Regnerus. He is after all a tenured professor of sociology. Personally I hope they do certify the slimy little weasel so that our side can put him under oath and discredit him.

  • 4. David Cary Hart  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    The odd couple (Olson and Boies) are in federal court in Virginia. We should know within a week or so if they will prevail on summary judgment.

  • 5. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Sign and share this petition to DEMAND that #Regnerus stop attacking April DeBoer and her family

  • 6. Craig Nelson  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I think this is great. SCOTUS alluded to the study so it is great it will be the topic of this trial and will lead to findings of fact.

    This is exactly what we need. The legal team have fair warning to immerse themselves in the social science literature around the topic including questions of methodology and would do well to immerse themselves in the Prop 8 transcripts and depositions – assuming they haven't already, that is!

    This trial could be a very decisive moment for our cause, because once this study and any other hiding under its shadow are discredited we can there will some very good rulings (also allowing for the odd setback as well).

  • 7. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Any chance of them taping the trial? Or at least having actors read the transcripts, as was done in Perry.

  • 8. Chris M.  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

    And I can't wait to see the editor of the journal in which the study is published on the witness stand to impeach any testimony by Regnerus. And force him to reveal who the anonymous reviewers were that recommended publication of the "study". Their academic reputation will take a hit once their identity is known, and rightly so.

  • 9. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    We already know that the Witherspoon Institute Program Director W. Bradford Wilcox was permitted to do peer review.

    "Social Science Research" journal editor James Wright confessed that fact to Inside Higher Ed after my investigative work had smoked Wilcox out as a peer reviewer. Wilcox in his capacity as a funding agency representative colluded with Regnerus on booby-trapping the study design, and then colluded with him further on data collection and data analyses. (He told Regnerus not to include findings related to abortion from his survey, because that would be "too much of a red flag" that the gay parenting study was coming from a place of religious anti-gay bigotry).

    Another of the peer reviewers was NFSS consultant Dr. Paul Amato. After I smoked him out as a peer reviewer — despite all of his fiduciary conflicts of interest –; he made a public confession that it was wrong of him to do peer review of the Regnerus paper.

    The other peer reviewer of the Regnerus paper was Christopher G. Ellison, who has a history, interestingly enough with both Regnerus and SSR editorial board member Darren Sherkat, who has lied to the public, for example by alleging that Regnerus's conflicts of interest with the peer reviewers were "minimal."

    Between the simultaneously-published Regnerus and Marks papers, which purported to overturn the scientific consensus on gay parenting, not a single one of the peer reviewers is trained or experienced in LGBT sciences. The other three peer reviewers are Robert Enright, Glenn Firebaugh, Alan Hawkins,

  • 10. Chris M.  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you! I didn't know the names were already out there. And that selection of reviewers doesn't reflect well on the editor who selected them. I wonder if he was just lazy and simply selected whoever the author recommended (not unheard of when it comes to academic publishing, unfortunately), or if he had his own agenda.

  • 11. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Let's put it this way.

    SSR editor James Wright was best friends and a long-time collaborator with the anti-gay-rights researcher Steven Nock, whom Witherspoon and Regnerus have said they sought to emulate in the NFSS.

    The Regnerus and Marks papers are mirrored in Nock's affidavit on the anti-gay side in Halpern v. Canada, a gay rights case. Nock gave rules for carrying out a large random national sample study of gay parents — and Regnerus didn't follow a single one of those rules. For example, the Nock affidavit says that if a researcher fails to assemble an appropriate comparison group, in order to isolate the one variable being tested — that of being a gay parent —- the whole study would be invalidated.

    Regnerus failed to assemble an appropriate comparison group. Nock passed away permaturely, but you have to wonder if he were alive, what he would have said when asked his opinion of Regnerus' failure to assemble an appropriate comparison group.

    That "flaw" in the paper becomes even more serious when you realize that Wright was so close personally and professionally with Nock.

  • 12. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    If memory serves this was a special volume of SSR. The way that usually works is that Prof X decides they want to pull together an issue that focuses on topic Y, and they put out the word to their buddies to have a paper ready to submit. Scott Rose – do you know if the NFSS was an "invited paper" to SSR?

  • 13. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Among the documentation had through Public Information Act requests to Regnerus's UT is an e-mail from Witherspoon's Wilcox apparently to Regnerus telling him that they should try to submit to Social Science Research. Wilcox in that e-mail says that "we" will be able to make it an issue themed to the Regnerus paper. In that same e-mail, Wilcox refers to the NFSS data as "our data." Wilcox in the e-mail notes that SSR journal editor James Wright likes Dr. Paul Amato, who was attached to the NFSS as a consultant and who later did peer review. Note that Regnerus paid for Amato's wife to have an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation to Austin around the time that Amato went there to consult on the NFSS. Note also that Regnerus recommended Amato as a peer reviewer to Wright and then Amato did peer review. But to return to your question, the documentation does seem to demonstrate that Wilcox, having initiated and designed the NFSS, steered the Regnerus and Marks papers to Social Science Research (and was then permitted to peer review the Regnerus paper).

  • 14. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Understood, but there is a difference between "steered the paper" and an "invited paper." An invited paper would be one in which the editor James Wright had specifically approached Regnerus and said "I'd like you to submit a paper to this special issue I'm organizing." It would have to be a direct communication between the two of them, without other intermediaries. "Our data" is open to interpretation. What's needed here is a direct unambiguous written statement of collusion between Wright and Regnerus, or between Wright and others associated with the study, that they were willfully setting out to concoct a study that achieved a particular political aim.

  • 15. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Excuse me but you do not know enough of the existing documentation in this matter. You keep supposing there are holes where there are no holes. I alert other readers to the fact that the President of the American Sociological Association was among the many signers of a May, 2013 letter to Wright, and another, separate letter to the SSR Editorial Board, detailing why the Regnerus paper must be retracted if Social Science Research journal is to begin to restore its integrity, That May, 2013 letter is a different document from the June 2012 letter sent to Wright and signed by over 200 Ph.D.s and M.Ds.

  • 16. Karen D.  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Once junk science is out there, it may take on a life of its own. No matter where or how many times the researcher or scholarship is discredited.

    An example to illustrate my point. From the SPLC:
    "In 2004, a majority decision by the Florida Supreme Court upholding a law prohibiting adoption by gay and lesbian couples specifically quoted Cameron's research as supporting the notion that "children raised by homosexuals disproportionately experience emotional disturbance and sexual victimization." In fact, studies by real scientists have found that that is clearly untrue.

    In 2007, Cameron testified in a Colorado Senate hearing concerning a proposed bill to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. He citied his own studies, which he said proved that gays and lesbians are more likely to be criminals and child molesters, and are more likely to drive drunk than heterosexuals."

  • 17. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    That is no reason not to demand and obtain retraction of the Regnerus and Marks papers, which are documented as having been published through violations of peer review ethics. The integrity of the scholarly record must be upheld. And, in Florida, the adoption matter was eventually resolved, with the court coming down hard on anti-gay junk science.

  • 18. ebohlman  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Do you know whether or not the Institutional Research Board (IRB) that vetted the study for ethics (any study that does human subjects research (HSR), even questionnaires, has to be approved by an IRB) was legit? I've been following several examples of medical quackery (mostly related to the fake vaccine/autism connection) where studies were approved by IRBs with members who had financial ties to the investigators, or in one case (not Wakefield) actually included some of the investigators.

  • 19. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    It's interesting that you raise the topic of the IRB. All a university IRB does is to verify that the individual study subjects' rights will be protected. In the case of a survey study like Regnerus's, really as there is no human contact all the IRB has to do is make sure that the survey administrators — in this case, Knowledge Networks — take adequate precautions to protect the respondents' privacy and anonymity.

    Regnerus lied to the public by saying that UT's IRB approved of his study design (as though that meant that UT's IRB found that his study design was methodologically sound). If you look at his quotes on the topic of UT's IRB's approval of his plan, you will see that Regnerus was deliberately trying to mislead the public about what the IRB does.

  • 20. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    It's going to take a smoking-gun revelation in those emails to force a retraction. Anything short of proof of academic misconduct will not work (falsifying data; misappropriating research funding; plagarism; collusion in the peer review process). Bad research, even biased research, won't get it. Bad studies get published every day.

  • 21. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Labeling respondents' parents as "lesbian mothers" and/or "gay fathers" when you have done nothing to determine whether they are that constitutes falsification of data.

    Collusion in the peer review process has already been documented, and one of the peer reviewers has publicly confessed that he created an appearance of impropriety by doing the peer review.

    Virtually all top journal editors and scholars aware of what happened in the peer review of the Regnerus paper agree that the academy should consider that the paper did not receive valid peer review.

  • 22. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    The peer review process was a charade, there's not much doubt of that. But what is needed here is a clear statement of intent, e.g. "what we really need is something that will influence the Supreme Court, let's get together and make that happen." Mischaracterizing "gay fathers" and "lesbian mothers" doesn't quite constitute falsification of data unless there exists some clear statement that Regnerus intentionally set out to mislead people.

  • 23. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I think you're commenting in good faith but not in control of all the evidence. Separately from the June 2012 letter signed by over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s to Regnerus's editor Wright expressing concern over the intellectual integrity of the Marks and Regnerus papers as well as of the process through which they were published, a letter was sent to Wright in May 2013, and signed by many leading scholars, calling for retraction of the Regnerus paper. Among the signers of that letter calling for retraction was Dr. Cecilia Ridgeway, President of the American Sociological Association. Here is the text of that letter:

    We are a group of sociologists who are writing to ask you to work with the rest of the SSR Board 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. Without retraction, the reputation of your journal and the integrity of the peer review process will certainly be diminished.

  • 24. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    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 is also troubling. Despite being a clear conflict of interest, Wright allowed these reviewers to consider the validity of Regnerus’s paper that was itself reliant on this very study for its claims. For the integrity of your journal’s peer review process, 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 worked, it 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, and Regnerus did not measure what he claims. In the conclusion of the Perrin et al. article, 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 Hollingsworth v. Perry case, a case that also admitted Regnerus’s study as scientifically valid because your journal has refused to retract it.

    It is the understanding of this group of social scientists that had your journal taken the usual professional care and time 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 to rush the publication, an error that can only be corrected by retracting the article. We urge you to convince your editor, James Wright, to do just that. If he refuses, we would hope that you will ask for his resignation as editor since his publication of the article has put the reputation of your journal at risk.

  • 25. Dr. Z  |  November 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Actually I'm familiar with nearly all of the material you've posted here. I've been following this case pretty closely, although it's been some time since I read the NFSS paper. And I'm familiar with the detective work you've done – kudos to you.

    At the end of the day, however, this blog is focused on issues of the law, which distinguish between nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance. Academic misconduct is only the latter, and the burden of proof is high. There is a difference between an idiot and a crook, and thus far Regnerus has only been clearly shown to be the former. You and both believe the latter as well, but in my humble opinion what I've seen and read thus far wouldn't be compelling enough to convince a jury of his peers that Regnerus is a crook.

    So far.

  • 26. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Your reasoning is all off, as science publishing mainly is self-policing and not subject to legal actions. I have no idea why you are making a comment arguing against the judgment of the President of the American Sociological Association that the Regnerus paper must be retracted in order for the journal "Social Science Research" to begin to regain intellectual integrity.

  • 27. davep  |  November 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    But that's not what Dr. Z is questioning. He's questioning whether or not there is sufficient evidence to cause the Michigan court to conclude that Regnerus cannot be considered an expert witness in the Michigan same sex marriage trial.

  • 28. Scott_Rose  |  November 20, 2013 at 8:07 am

    No, that is clearly not what "Dr. Z." is expressing. He mentioned Regnerus facing a "jury of his peers," a topic completely separate from a court's consideration of Regnerus's viability as a supposed expert witness. Look to what happened to Walter Schumm in the Florida adoption case to see what could happen to Regnerus in Michigan.

  • 29. Bill S.  |  November 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Elsevier will publish an opposing view or differing results from the same data set. Letting the scientific community debate each others research, rather than retractions (which generally only the original researcher can request).

  • 30. Scott_Rose  |  November 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    It's completely false that "only the original researcher can request" a retraction. Completely untrue, and ridiculous.

  • 31. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    From this link:

    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.

  • 32. davep  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Just wanted to chime in here and say thanks to Scott for all of this background regarding the Regnerus "study". Excellent!

  • 33. Jeremy  |  November 20, 2013 at 1:30 am

    I agree Dr. Z. I see a lot of incompetence and poor peer review. I suspect without that smoking gun, we may see a letter of reprimand to promise to tighten up the ship and CYA better for the next Gay Is Bad study from the likes of Regnerus, or Allen.

  • 34. davep  |  November 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I think there's a good chance he and his 'research' won't be considered qualified as expert witness material and he won't testify. Which I think would be a shame. If he IS allowed to testify, that motion against UFC will proceed and will compel them to release the records, which we have been wanting to see happen since his 'study' was released.

    I'm thinking back to the cross examination of David Blankenhorn during the Prop 8 trial. If Regnerus gets on the witness stand, this trial will be even better than that. All of Regnerus's intentionally misleading statistics and unsupported conclusions will be torn to bits in court, and all of the underhanded motives behind his work will be made public. I wonder if Regnerus is familiar with what David Boies had to say about situations this – "The witness stand, under oath, is a lonely place to lie".

  • 35. ebohlman  |  November 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Becker's suit is completely independent of De Boer; it's about an institution denying public records to a journalist. It will proceed regardless of whether or not Regnerus testifies in MI.

  • 36. davep  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Ah yes, got it. Thanks!

  • 37. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    How has this study not been retracted? The only thing I can think of is that the biggest problem is people claiming that it shows results that it does not, which isn't something the journal itself can control.

  • 38. Scott_Rose  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    The question is, who would write the retraction notice?

    To explain accurately why the paper was being retracted, one would surely have to include Social Science Research editor James Wright's already documented collusion in the hoax. Once Elsevier confesses to the depths of Wright's unethical depravity, everything ever published through him is thrown into doubt. And, Elsevier currently has Wright assigned as editor-in-chief of its upcoming Encyclopedia.

    Here are Dr. Philip Cohen's reasons for calling for retraction and boycotting the journal:

    "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."

  • 39. Kevin tibbles  |  November 20, 2013 at 1:21 am

    How has Elsevier responded so far to this "unethical depravity?" Assuming integrity and credibility is a business interest of being a publisher, wouldn't they have had conducted an internal review or had their lawyers take a look (even a cursory review to assess their exposure)?

  • 40. Sagesse  |  November 20, 2013 at 4:03 am

    The news reports are a bit sketchy, but there was one to the effect that Elsevier was seeking to 'intervene' in the court ordered release of information by UCF. That may be connected to the contempt of court citation for failing to release those documents. So far as I know, the documents have still not been released.

    Anyone know anything more?

  • 41. Scott_Rose  |  November 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    When concern was first expressed about Wright's integrity in publishing the Regnerus and Marks papers and the associated commentaries, all from non-experts with conflicts of interest, Wright announced that board member Darren Sherkat would conduct an "audit" of the publication of the Marks and Regnerus papers.

    The fix on the audit was in, with it being agreed ahead of time between Elsevier, Wright and Sherkat that no matter what unethical deeds were discovered, Wright would not be held accountable for having knowingly published anti-gay junk science by subverting peer review ethics.

    Sherkat lied in the audit by saying that Wright had told him the names of six peer reviewers between the Regnerus and Marks papers but not who had peer reviewed which paper. Meanwhile though, the whole point of learning the peer reviewers names to audit publication of the papers would be to check for conflicts of interest that the peer reviewers might have with either the funders or the researcher. So, where Sherkat wrote in his audit that he was not told who peer reviewed which paper, that would be an admission that he did not properly check for conflicts of interest.

    However, he did know who peer reviewed which paper, as he confessed during a lecture at Fresno State. In his audit, he wrote "Scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from peer review." And, after I smoked out Witherspoon Institute Program Director Brad Wilcox as a peer reviewer, Sherkat nonetheless alleged verbally to the public that the peer reviewers' conflicts of interest with Regnerus and his funders were "minimal," a falsehood.

    Elsevier, the company, went beyond Wright's shamelessness in publishing Sherkat's audit, by saying that they reviewed the situation and nothing in it was irregular.

    Mind you, previously, Elsevier has permitted pharmaceutical companies to put out entire "vanity" publication under the false guise that they were Elsevier scientific journals.

    And, one of the excuses that Sherkat gives in the audit for why, for the peer review, Wright didn't use LGBT topic experts without conflicts of interest with Regnerus and his anti-gay funders was that Wright is so hugely overburdened with his work for the journal that he can barely keep up. Wright in an editor's letter that he published in November, 2012 made that same claim.

    But when Wright was first deposed in Becker's case against UCF, and he and Elsevier were hoping to convince the court that the Regnerus-related documentation Becker is requesting should not be released, Wright's strategy changed. The less of an interdependence that could be established between Elsevier's journal "Social Science Research" (which is housed in UCF's Sociology Department) and the publicly funded UCF, the less compelling legal argument there would be for release of the Regnerus documentation Becker is requesting. Or so Elsevier and Wright hoped.

    So, in his deposition, Wright alleged that on average, he spends three to four hours per week working for the journal. Got that? Regnerus editor James Wright in an audit and also in a letter he published claimed that he is so hugely burdened with his work for the journal that he didn't have time to find peer reviewers for the Marks and Regnerus papers who were both gay parenting topic experts and had no conflicts of interest. Yet, when it suited his (lying) purposes better, all of a sudden instead of being hugely busy with the journal, he only works three to four hours per week on it!

    When a reporter makes a Freedom of Information Act request, he/she has to be narrow and specific in order to get what he/she is after, i.e. you don't ask for everything Wright wrote in 2013, you narrow it down so that you getting his communications with people known to have been involved in the Regnerus scandal. And, not everything a reporter would ask for in a request of narrow scope would be subject to disclosure. The reason I'm mentioning all of this is that obviously at this point, with so much damning documentation already had in the Regnerus hoax, the remaining documentation that UCF and Elsevier are desperately trying to prevent from being released includes documentation extremely incriminating of many of the bad faith actors in the Regnerus hoax. Were it not incriminating, they would have no motive for fighting against it being released.

  • 42. Scott_Rose  |  November 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Wright's superior at Elsevier is Ilaria Meliconi, who gave a deposition in support of Elsevier's motion to stay the judge's order that documentation be released. Meliconi should be considered an arch enemy of the LGBT community worldwide. Although retraction would not completely stop bigots from using the Marks and Regnerus papers as an anti-gay cudgel, it nonetheless would be helpful. Elsevier's Meliconi is working against retraction, and that is to say, she is abetting political gay bashers in countries as far-flung as Russia, Belize and Nigeria to use the anti-gay junk science Wright published, against LGBTers.

    Wright is documented as having knowingly published lies from Regnerus in Regnerus's second NFSS paper in the November, 2012 issue of Social Science Research. His unethical behavior in doing that occurred at the University of Central Florida campus, where the UCF Creed supposedly applies to both faculty and students. Ergo, the UCF board of trustees, UCF President John Hitt and Provost Tony Woldrop also should be held accountable for the political gay bashing that Wright enabled by publishing anti-gay junk science from Marks, Regnerus, and others including Walter Schumm. University officials have failed in their duty to uphold their own school's Creed, its academic honor code, in the face of a faculty member documented as having violated it, at the expense of the LGBT community worldwide.

  • 43. Old Timer  |  November 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I completely agree with you in theory, and principal. I'm old and probably a little senile, but I don't see all those folks getting the public horsewhipping they may deserve. University councils and leaders are historical members of their respective good old boys/girls clubs. They are experts at handling controversy with minimal action. One strategy is to play this out until folks simply get tired and the public moves on.

  • 44. David Cary Hart  |  November 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    The best renunciation of Regnerus came from his own professional organization. Their amicus brief (starting about half-way through) simply demolishes Regnerus:

  • 45. Phillip  |  November 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Still a member of the APA, poor scholarship won't get you out the door.

  • 46. Phillip  |  November 20, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Typo, I mean't ASA

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