A study from University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus caused a stir earlier this summer by alleging that children raised by same-sex parents were more likely to be unfaithful, smoke pot and fall prey to depression than kids from heterosexual unions.
Almost immediately, reputable researchers and LGBT advocates questioned Regnerus’ methodology and an official probe was launched by the U of Texas at Austin.
Now the school is calling off the dogs, saying “there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.”
In The New Family Structure Study, Regnerus asked 3,000 adults ages 18-39 (including 248 with parents in a gay relationship) questions about their income levels, mental and physical health, romantic relationships and other markers.
Off the top of our heads, we can think of just a few bumps in the road:
* Where’s the objectivity? Regnerus is known for spouting ultra-conservative ideology and his study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank with ties to the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage.
* The majority of children of gays and lesbians were born into a heterosexual family in which one member came out. Their later behavior may be a result of family upheaval.
* Children raised in non-traditional families may be less insistent on maintaining a veneer of “normalcy,” and more willing to admit to depression, adultery and experimentation with drugs.
* The study ignored the very real possibility that increased incidents of depression and drug use may stem from the prejudice gay families endure rather than something endemic to same-sex clans.
It might not have been misconduct, but Regnerus’ study certainly shows a lack of scientific rigor and academic credibility. (Not that it’s stopped righ-wing groups from touting the results.) We hope his department takes that into consideration when its time for tenure or a promotion.