The Right Wing’s Favorite Antigay Expert Just Watched His Reputation Go Up In Smoke

Mark RegnerusMark Regnerus is a darling of the religious right. As the author of a thoroughly discredited study that purports to show that the children of gay parents are prone to STDs, alcoholism and drug use, Regnerus is the one slender reed upon which the right can hang its claim to having an expert witness.

After his testimony in the challenge to Michigan’s ban on marriage equality, Regnerus probably isn’t that any more. Not only has his profession abandoned him, so has his university and his own department in it.

In an amazing rebuke to one of its own faculty members, the sociology department at the University of Texas at Austin issued a statement in conjunction with Regnerus’s testimony that basically hung one of its own out to dry:

Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the Sociology Department of The University of Texas at Austin.  Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds and that findings from Dr. Regnerus’ work have been cited inappropriately in efforts to diminish the civil rights and legitimacy of LBGTQ partners and their families.  We encourage society as a whole to evaluate his claims.

The Sociology Department at The University of Texas at Austin aspires to achieve academic excellence in research, teaching, and public service at the highest level in our discipline. We strive to do so in a context that is based on the highest ethical standards of our discipline and in a context that actively promotes and supports diversity among our faculty and student populations.

Ouch. By contrast, all the University itself did was say Regnerus represented no one but himself.

Under cross-examination Tuesday, Regnerus acknowledged the criticism. “I guess they just want to distance themselves from me,” he said. 

Why would that be?

At the same time, Regnerus had to own up to stacking the deck in his favor when he designed the study by having only two of the 3,000 children in his study actually come from stable households with same-sex parents. Half of the kids in the study grew up in families where one parent later came out. A vast array of studies has found that children who grew up in same-sex households are as well adjusted as kids from comparable heterosexual households. That the right is using the gay threat to children as its excuse to halt marriage equality shows how desperately it clings to legal reasoning that the Supreme Court completely rejected.

Regnerus couldn’t stop himself from floating his latest insinuation, that pornography leads to marriage equality. Regnerus, who seems to find exactly the defamation he’s looking for when he sets out to study something (especially if he’s paid $700,000 by a right-wing group for it), claims that both gay and straight people are “more likely to support same-sex marriage after they were exposed to pornography.”

Regnerus testified that a cause-and-effect relationship between pornography and marriage equality hadn’t been proven yet (perhaps because it only exists in the minds of disordered academics). However, any causal relationship between the two has yet to be established, Regnerus said under cross-examination. But, he added: “It’s an interesting correlation.”

Perhaps the more interesting correlation is between Regnerus’s testimony and the complete disintegration of his academic career.

Oh, wait. That would be cause and effect.

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  • Steve Rider

    The mere fact that everything he says is inconsistent with reality will do nothing to reduce his standing among the right wing Christians. They are already hostile to reality, so his claims being false actually raises his credibility because he is “with the program.”

    Haters are going to hate, then go to church to have their intolerance sanctified.

  • Joetx

    I am a UT alumnus. For the life of me, I don’t understand how such a loon became employed by UT, let alone allowed to become a tenure track professor, especially when most professors across the nation are merely instructors, not tenure track professors. UT and Austin are known as the liberal island amid a very backwards state.

    I can only guess that, as a concession to the incessant whining CONServatives have about academia (i.e., that it is liberal & they are being discriminated against), UT brought this guy on board. I don’t see how Regnerus can earn tenure after churning out such trashy “studies.”

  • Harley

    Maybe instead of Regnerus testifying the cause-and-effect relationship between pornography and marriage equality he should testify the cause-and-effect relationship between pornography and masterbation. There may be some scientific research there. He could spend hours and hours and hours and spend lots of the right wings money on porn to come to that conclusion.

  • Ottoman

    @Joetx: Princeton continues to employ Robert George, the crackpot who founded NOM. My theory is that healthy endowments from right wing groups keep these people in their university teaching positions.

  • rand503

    There will always ve a position for hi, as a Special Researcher at Fox news. Imagine all the studies he could churcn out for them!

  • Rad

    How can I get some organization to pay me $700,000 to make up crap? I would LOVE a job like that!

  • Cam

    Oh Pornography and masterbation are the new crazy cause of the Mormon church, with one of the heads of BYU even telling students to turn in their roommates if they catch them masterbating.

    Folks like this guy are just nutjobs.

  • RomanHans

    Why are gay people angry? Because the rest of America has believed idiots like this for fifty years. Because nobody’s stood up to “religious” (aka bigoted) scientists who’ve consistently claimed that all animals are heterosexual. Because — aside from the fact we could be fired and thrown out of our homes for being gay — we’ve grown up with American idiots parroting that “liberty and justice for all” line when ONE. SINGLE. BRAIN. CELL. would have told them this ain’t freakin’ CLOSE to the truth.

  • Hermes

    @Joetx: I believe that Dr. Regnerus has tenure already, and you are correct, its a disgrace. His study, as utterly false as it is, has found its way into discussions at parliaments in nations like Russia and Uganda, as they move to illegalize homosexual equality, or bring actual harm to gay people. It’s disgusting.

  • Joetx

    @Hermes: Actually, he’s listed as an Associate Professor.

    Unless I’m mistaken, the tenure track goes from Assistant Professor, to Associate Professor, and finally to Professor (i.e., tenure).

    Hopefully, going by the quality – or lack thereof – of his work, he won’t achieve tenure.

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