Judge Keeps Documents On Anti-Gay, Discredited Mark Regnerus Parenting Study Away From Public Eyes

This last week, an Orlando judge overturned a November ruling stating that the University of Central Florida had to turn over any documents related to the Social Science Research journal’s peer review and publication of Mark Regnerus’ widely discredited study against same-sex parenting.

Mark_regenerusLGBT activist and writer John Becker had requested the documents under Florida’s Public Records Act, but for now they will remain sealed — at least until Becker appeals, which he plans to do. Writing for The Bilerico Project, Becker said:

Judge John Marshall Kest found that, despite the fact that the journal Social Science Research was housed at UCF; the university granted UCF use of its computers, servers, pass-through networks, email addresses, and office supplies; the university paid Dr. Wright's journal-related travel expenses; and UCF awarded full assistantships and tuition waivers to grad students to work solely on the journal, a sufficient distance exists between the university and the journal to exempt the journal-related records held by UCF from Florida's extensive Sunshine Law.

Regnerus’ study claimed to show that the children of gay parents had higher rates of life problems compared to kids raised by straight parents, and has been used ever since its publication to oppose same-sex marriage and gay adoption in civil court battles.

However, an internal audit of the Social Science Research journal concluded that Regnerus’ study was “bulls–t,” that it barely studied gay parents, contained no original research, had a “highly unusual” timeline with an “unseemly rush to publication” and that all three of the journal’s peer-reviewers had ties to the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute that funded the study to begin with.

Comments

  1. Scott Rose says

    We have now gone way beyond documenting that Regnerus editor James Wright knowingly and deliberately subverted peer review ethics, and other science publishing ethics, to publish his two Regnerus-related anti-gay issues of Social Science Research in June/July and November 2012.

    That UCF and Elsevier are spending so much time and money hiding the additional evidence of editorial misconduct is shocking, for no school, or science publisher should collude in contaminating the scholarly record.

    This decision was wrongly decided and Becker will win on appeal.

    Shame on UCF and on Elsevier. The dishonest Regnerus editor James Wright should be fired for cause from both UCF and Elsevier.

  2. says

    Don’t be so fast to judge this case on its superficial appearance everyone. As an openly gay and tenured professor at UCF, I can assure you that the University’s motivations for keeping these records private have nothing to do with homophobia or support for the work of this disgraced and discredited “social scientist.” The real issue at the core of this case pertains to the essential anonymity that must be extended to peer reviewers of any scientific journal. The peer review process is vital to the dissemination of scholarship; and disclosure of the identity of peer reviewers poses a major threat that has widespread implications for this process. While this author’s work is abhorrent and unacceptable and shouldn’t have survived the peer review process, we can’t let our quest for vengeance threaten a system that relies on double-blinded review of scholarly work to ensure research of high quality and high scientific rigor gets published. That’s the real issue here. UCF is interested in ensuring that Sunshine Laws for Florida don’t destroy the ability of scholars who work at institutions within our State University System to participate in the peer review process. There is no desire to cover up the homophobic motivations of an author who was unfortunately able to get an article published by the right alignment of the wrong factors. This man has since most likely had his career ruined (and rightly so) and has been shunned and sanctioned by his own profession and Faculty. He will face the consequences of his actions. But let’s not lose focus on the essential implications of what this case really entails.

  3. Scott Rose says

    Mr. Blackwell:

    I am writing to demand that you stop your public lying about what is involved in UCF’s James Wright’s gross editorial misconduct in publishing his two anti-gay packages of junk science in the June/July and November issues of “Social Science Research.”

    In your comment, you allege that protecting “double-blind” peer review is at stake — immediately marking you as a liar, because Social Science Research peer review is only SINGLE BLIND.

    In fact, Regnerus recommended paid NFSS consultant Dr. Paul Amato to editor James Wright as a peer reviewer and then immediately personally e-mailed a copy of the paper to Amato along with extravagantly flattering language urging Amato to do the peer review. After I smoked Amato out as a peer review, he confessed that by doing the peer review despite his fiduciary conflicts of interest, he had created an appearance of impropriety. He confessed that as per ordinary academic publishing ethics, and peer review ethics, he should not have done the peer review.

    Additionally, Becker’s Freedom of Information Act request is only very tangentially about the peer reviewers, as we already know who they are. For example, we know that W. Bradford Wilcox peer reviewed the Regnerus paper. Upon request, I will furnish you with the complete documentation for who peer reviewed what in all of this.

    Additionally you should note that UCF’s James Wright published anti-gay junk science from Walter Schumm, as though it had been peer reviewed, even though it had not been peer reviewed, and he did not disclose that Schumm was a paid NFSS consultant.

    For whatever reasons, you are just lying to the public when you allege that Becker’s Freedom of Information Act request is mainly about the peer review. Other aspects of the requested documentation also with certainty will shed additional light on UCF’s James Wright’s gross editorial misconduct.

    Frankly, I have cause to believe, and evidence that shows, you are kissing rear ends at UCF in order to promote yourself there, and you are doing that at the expense of innocent LGBTers all over the world. You are a filthy, selfish rear-end-kisser.

    Wright’s two anti-gay junk science issues are being used all around the world by anti-gay hate groups, including the Catholic Church, often to catastrophic effect in places such as Uganda.

    You are a patsy, a coward, and a source of deliberate misinformation. Stop doing things that harm innocent LGBTers. Stop your lying.

    Sincerely,

    Scott Rose

  4. says

    Hi Scott. I have to admit I am shocked at what you’ve written here. Not only have you passed judgment about me without merit, you’ve made some pretty libel statements about me that are totally uncalled for. First of all, the peer review process is a double blind process. In other words, neither the author who submits the work knows the identity of the peer reviewer who is reviewing his or her work just as the reviewer does not know the identity of the author who submitted it. While some journals do not stick to this policy, the vast majority do.

    In addition, you’ve called me an “ass-kisser, patsy, and coward” who’s out to “promote” myself. Just so you know–I am a tenured professor at UCF and I am nowhere near interested in any type of promotion in the near future. Also, I am a Faculty member, not a member of the Administration and I have no interest in ever being a University administrator.

    I have a long track record of scholarship in the area of GLBT social equality and GLBT health. I also have served on the Faculty Senate for UCF and we have held meetings regarding this incident and not at one point during any of those meetings has anything other than the threat to the peer review process been brought up by administration.

    I certainly appreciate you providing more background information to me on this article’s history. However, I have been an outspoken critic of it and have even spoken out against it with our top administrators and our Faculty Senate. So, again, your comments here are unbelievably unprofessional, uncalled for, and untrue.

    I await your apology…

    Sincerely,
    Doctor Christopher Blackwell

  5. Scott Rose says

    I’m writing a P.S., about UCF’s Christopher W. Blackwell.

    This person has long been involved with trying to mislead the public about the Regnerus scandal.

    Firstly, it’s essential to understand that Regnerus is not the worst of the malefactors in the scandal. UCF’s James Wright is the worst of the malefactors. UCF’s James Wright knowingly and deliberately cooperated with professioal religious anti-gay bigots (some of whom are his long time close personal friends) to subvert all academic ethics and to get these two junk science issues published.

    It is less about Regnerus and more about Wright. Wright is the character most guilty in this scandal. Even after he was caught, guilty of gross editorial misconduct, he has refused to do the right thing and to retract these dishonestly-published papers.

    Don’t let UCF’s Blackwell throw you off the scent. He is kissing rear-end at UCF, and deliberately misleading the public about Becker’s lawsuit against UCF.

  6. Jay says

    I absolutely agree that peer review is an essential aspect of academic publishing. That is precisely why these documents housed at UCF need to be released. They show that it is the Journal that violated its own policies. There was NO meaningful peer review in the Regnerus fraud. The absurdities of the study and the irregularities in peer review have been well established. What is needed are the documents that show just how deep the fraud went and exactly how involved editor James Wright was from the very beginning. If you support the principle of peer review, Christopher Blackwell, you will support the release of the appropriate documents, which verify precisely how rigged this junk science concocted by the Heritage Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute really was.

  7. says

    Hi Jay. I agree with you about the junk pseudoscience that this person’s “work” represents. And I am a vocal opponent of this person and his attempt to ruin the lives of GLBT persons across this country and beyond using his discriminatory and hate motivated study. And while I do believe that the journal’s publisher (which I believe is Elsevier) should conduct an extensive investigation as to how this article was ever published and assess the peer review process of this journal and the specific peer reviewers who conducted the review of this article, there is a bigger issue at play legally. If a judge rules that Florida’s Sunshine Laws apply to peer reviewers who are also state employees, the anonymity of peer reviewers is at threat. All of a sudden, you might see an author suing for disclosure of the identity of peer reviewers because his or her work was denied in a particular journal. Scott Rose, whoever he may be, has no idea who I am and has actually called my office, sent emails, etc. that are completely unfounded based solely on my initial post above. I am an out, proud, and active Faculty member. And I agree with you that this journal needs an extensive investigation and needs to come up with an action plan to address the problems that uncovers. But the bigger picture here about revealing peer reviewer identities is a major one that can’t be discounted.

  8. Scott Rose says

    As Dr. Lori Holyfield told me:
    “When you look at that phenomenally short turn-around time from submission to acceptance, you just can’t help but wonder if somebody connected with Witherspoon or Regnerus didn’t call the editor and make special arrangements. With all the evidence and documentation now known, all signs point to Wilcox. Because of that, I think it would be in the best interest of the editorial board and the journal to provide the names of the peer reviewers in this case. Peer reviewers’ anonymity should be respected when the research is valid. This research is not valid. If a full investigation is not carried out, the journal’s reputation will be permanently darkened. Peer reviewers who were in any way involved in Regnerus’s funding and/or in his research should have recused themselves immediately; this never should have happened. “When you look at that phenomenally short turn-around time from submission to acceptance, you just can’t help but wonder if somebody connected with Witherspoon or Regnerus didn’t call the editor and make special arrangements. With all the evidence and documentation now known, all signs point to Wilcox. Because of that, I think it would be in the best interest of the editorial board and the journal to provide the names of the peer reviewers in this case. Peer reviewers’ anonymity should be respected when the research is valid. This research is not valid. If a full investigation is not carried out, the journal’s reputation will be permanently darkened. Peer reviewers who were in any way involved in Regnerus’s funding and/or in his research should have recused themselves immediately; this never should have happened.”

  9. Scott Rose says

    Let’s not forget Dr. Philip Cohen’s reasons for boycotting UCF’s James Wright and “Social Science Research.”

    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.

  10. Scott Rose says

    Blackwell is attempting to blow smoke in everybody’s eyes. The actual identity of the peer reviewers is a non-issue, because we already have their names. Here is how we have their names. When Wright assigned Darren Sherkat to do an “Audit” of how Regnerus et al got published, I sent Sherkat an e-mail asking him how he was going to check for conflicts of interest among the peer reviewers. Sherkat responded by telling me that he had made a Freedom of Information Act request to Regnerus’s UT, giving UT the list of the peer reviewers and asking UT to send him Regnerus-study consulting contracts made to any of the people on the list of peer reviewers. I made a Freedom of Information Act request to UT for Sherkat’s e-mail with the list of peer reviewers, and UT sent it to me.

    Separately, I asked UT to send me its response to Sherkat’s FOIA request. UT then sent me its response to Sherkat, which consisted of a cover note plus Regnerus-study consulting contracts for Paul Amato and Brad Wilcox (both of whose names were on Sherkat’s list of peer reviewers).

    This is not at all about protecting peer review, as the names of the peer reviewers of the Regnerus and Marks papers are already known.

    Blakwell is doing his UCF superiors a favor. If that isn’t true, then why is Blackwell not publicly calling for Wright to retract the Regnerus and Marks papers?

    A person genuinely interested in LGBT safety around the world, and in protecting the integrity of the scholarly record, would be publicly demanding for UCF’s James Wright to retract the Regnerus and Marks papers, not making up fake alibis to throw people off the scent.

  11. Scott Rose says

    It must further be noted that UCF’s Christopher Blackwell also is on an Elsevier journal editorial board (“Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care”) and that he therefore has an undisclosed conflict of interest in talking about this topic. I consider that the litmus test of his loyalties is whether he will publicly demand for UCF’s James Wright to retract the Regnerus paper. If Blackwell will not go on record demanding retraction of the Regnerus paper, then you can be sure that he is kissing rear ends at both Elsevier and at UCF>

  12. says

    GARYSFBCN:

    I have openly condemned this work since the start of all of this. Unfortunately, my going on the record for James Wright to retract the Regenerus and Marks papers will be of little to no impact as I am not a child welfare researcher and do not claim to be an expert in this area of science. In fact, since child welfare science is outside of my scope of expertise, my lending of my personal opinion could in fact be counterproductive and become a major source of criticism for the very people we’re trying to discredit here.

  13. Scott Rose says

    One need not have expertise in gay parenting studies to be fully informed about Regnerus editor James Wright’s gross editorial misconduct in publishing his two Regnerus-related issues. Knowledge of the misconduct is adequate to calling for retraction. Christopher Blackwell is a despicable Elsevier and UCF flunky and apologist.

  14. says

    Dr. Blackwell, your responds smacks of ‘just following orders.’

    In previous posts you write that this “study” is “discriminatory and hate motivated”.

    And you call it “junk pseudoscience” and then claim that it is being used as an attempt “to ruin the lives of GLBT persons across this country.”

    I’m reminded of Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  15. says

    While I have never heard of Scott Rose until a few hours ago, I would praise him on his work on this issue and encourage him in his efforts and acknowledge his perseverance. However, his personal attacks against me have been completely inappropriate, ridiculously off base, and wildly misdirected.

  16. Scott Rose says

    It’s just completely false that UCF is fighting only in the name of “peer review anonymity.” If that were the issue, than UCF would release documentation responsive to Becker’s request but not directly involving peer review. UCF is knowingly and deliberately trying to hide the facts of the scandal from the world, as is Elsevier. If Blackwell were not being disingenuous here, he would file his own “Sunshine Laws” request involving UCF’s Wright, Brad Wilcox and Regnerus but not directly involving peer review. We have already documented beyond all doubt that Wright has violated the UCF “Creed,” the university’s academic honor code. UCF officials, including Blackwell, are more interested in sweeping this dirt under the carpet than in upholding the university’s “Creed.”

  17. says

    I can assure you Mr. Rose that I have no interest in sweeping anything “under the rug.” I have reported to you and others here solely what myself and the UCF Faculty have been presented as the basis for UCF’s side of this case. I have also never heard a single UCF Faculty member stand in support of the research findings of this unethical “social scientist.” In fact, I’ve only heard the opposite from people who share the same opinions about his work that you and I both share. I understand and appreciate your argument that there is more to it than I have suggested. I can only tell you and others that from my perspective, the situation goes far beyond just the superficial aspects of this case. I represent no one but myself and have never said I represented anyone else’s point of view on this. Regardless, you have continued to personally attack me and have done so in a public manner that is unprofessional, rude, inappropriate, and without merit. And for that, you have threatened your own reputation in this matter. Nonetheless, as an ally for GLBT equality, I wish you the best on your future endeavors and thank-you for the efforts you have put forward in trying to right a wrong. I will cordially await your apology to me for the treatment you have afforded me.

  18. says

    I can assure you Mr. Rose that I have no interest in sweeping anything “under the rug.” I have reported to you and others here solely what myself and the UCF Faculty have been presented as the basis for UCF’s side of this case. I have also never heard a single UCF Faculty member stand in support of the research findings of this unethical “social scientist.” In fact, I’ve only heard the opposite from people who share the same opinions about his work that you and I both share. I understand and appreciate your argument that there is more to it than I have suggested. I can only tell you and others that from my perspective, the situation goes far beyond just the superficial aspects of this case. I represent no one but myself and have never said I represented anyone else’s point of view on this. Regardless, you have continued to personally attack me and have done so in a public manner that is unprofessional, rude, inappropriate, and without merit. And for that, you have threatened your own reputation in this matter. Nonetheless, as an ally for GLBT equality, I wish you the best on your future endeavors and thank-you for the efforts you have put forward in trying to right a wrong. I will cordially await your apology to me for the treatment you have afforded me.

  19. Scott Rose says

    I have exposed you as an Elsevier and UCF plant, Mr. Blackwell, and your jig is up. Nobody should accept your disingenuous defenses of UCF’s perfidy in this matter of academic ethics violations. You are no friend to gay people. You are as bad an enabler of Regnerus as UCF’s James Wright. You have fiduciary conflicts of interest and you didn’t realize that they were going to be exposed here.

  20. Bill says

    @Dr. Christopher Blackwell : While it is no doubt obvious to you at this point, Scott Rose is not the most reasonable person you can run across – he may mean well in the sense of doing everything he can to further gay rights but he tends to see enemies were they don’t exist and has a tendency towards “over the top” rhetoric. I’ve had some disagreements with him in the past, so I’ve some idea from personal experience. Don’t expect an apology from him (and please treat this statement as a prediction of what will occur, not a statement of what should ideally occur).

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/category/scott-rose-2 has some examples of him going after Regnerus. Now, I think Regnerus made some serious mistakes in his analysis, but I’d hardly call Regnerus something akin to “Satan Incarnate”.
    Aside from some bad terminology, my opinion is that his biggest mistake was in not realizing that his data measured the outcome for adults with a gay or lesbian parent at a time when attitudes were quite different but starting to change. The idea of evaluating how children in various types of families do when they grow up is not obviously a bad one per se, but is easiest when conditions are static (i.e., when they do not change with time). With more date over a longer time frame, and a more sophisticated analysis, the conclusions might have been that prejudice against a child’s parents hurts the child.

    If there’s a reason that comparing outcomes as adults with conditions during childhood is a bad idea in general, I’d like to know what that is.
    (Hint – this should be answered by Dr. Blackwell or some other person who works in this or related areas, not by someone’s whose “professional” experience is merely being an “activist”).

  21. says

    Thank-you Bill. I appreciate those sentiments my friend. While I pointed out previously that my research focus isn’t related to child rearing, I can certainly critique a piece of research for what it is and point out its flaws and major methodological issues. I agree with you on the points you bring up about this particular study. Negativity towards parents has been supported as having negative psychological effects on children.

    However, that being said, I believe your indication of cultural shifts in attitudes and need for longitudinal data is very important. Also, although not directly comparable, data from prior studies looking at outcomes of children raised by gay parents showed that while bullying was an issue, in time, children learned to cope and they were resilient. While I can’t cite that particular study now (I reviewed it years ago when I wrote a Cost/Benefit Analysis that exposed the major financial cost of Florida’s prior disgusting and discriminatory ban on gay adoption to taxpayers in a course I took during the completion of my Ph.D.), the findings indicated that the psychological trauma of bullying on the kids was temporary.

    The overall measures of outcomes on the children raised by gay parents, like the vast majority of other data on the subject indicate, were just as good (and actually better in some instances) with the gay parents. In fact, the researchers concluded that over time, this bullying was akin to other types of bullying children of non-homosexual parents are exposed to.

    A major take away point is that you don’t go to press with anything that doesn’t have some type of acceptable study endpoint. This was largely shown in some of the research conducted by “ex gay” therapists who reported short-term data from their “interventions” to indicate successful “conversion” from homosexual or bisexual orientations to heterosexual. Although they actually published these “findings,” when their participants were assessed just a few months after the study’s “end point,” an overwhelming majority had indeed reverted back to a homo/bi sexual orientation. I covered this extensively in my 2008 article “Nursing implications in the application of conversion therapies on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients that was published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing (http://drchristopherblackwell.com/documents/conversiontherapyarticle.pdf).

    Thanks again for the intelligent response, positive energy, and discussion.

    Chris

  22. Scott Rose says

    Listen, Mr. Blackwell, you duplicitous bigot-enabler; you came into this discussion seeking to divert attention from the real issues. You are still doing that. UCF’s James Wright violated UCF’s own CREED, yet your beef is against John Becker, not against Wright?

    “Intelligent response,” “discussion” YOU ARE OFF TOPIC.

    Shame on you!

    And btw — YOU are the one who owes, not me, but rather, the LGBT community worldwide an apology, for being an apologist for UCF and Wright, not to mention, your journal publisher Elsevier.

    You came into this with fiduciary conflicts of interest. You are duplicitous.

    Definition of DUPLICITOUS

    deceptive in words or action

    du·plic·i·ty
    [doo-plis-i-tee, dyoo-]

    deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing. Synonyms: deceit, deception, dissimulation, fraud, guile, hypocrisy, trickery

  23. Scott Rose says

    As Sherkat wrote in his Audit, between the Regnerus and Marks papers there were a total of seven peer reviewers. Their names are: Paul Amato, David Eggebeen, Christopher G. Ellison, Robert Enright, Glenn Firebaugh, Alan Hawkins and W. Bradford Wilcox.

  24. Scott Rose says

    In April/May, 2013, the President of the American Sociological Association was among the signers of this letter to the University of Central Florida’s James Wright, telling him that he had to retract the Regnerus paper, if his journal was to begin to restore its intellectual integrity:

    LETTER TO JAMES WRIGHT, EDITOR.

    Dear Dr. Wright,

    We are a group of sociologists who are writing to ask you 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.

    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 compromises the peer review practices and does not represent best practices in journal editing. Despite being a clear conflict of interest, you allowed these reviewers to consider the validity of Regnerus’s paper that was itself reliant on this very study for its claims. In order to maintain the intellectual integrity of your journal, 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 been conducted with reviewers who were experts in the field and who were unconnected to the study itself, it is likely that they 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. As 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 Reese v. Witherspoon case, a case that also admitted Regnerus’s study as scientifically valid because your journal has refused to retract it.

    Dr. Wright, it is the understanding of this group of social scientists that had your journal taken the usual amount of time- 12 months in your journal’s case- 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 in choosing reviewers who were not impartial and rushing to publication, an error that can only be corrected by retracting the article. We urge you to do just that.

    Sincerely,

  25. Scott Rose says

    Blackwell is on the editorial board of another Elsevier journal, which supposedly has this policy:

    Editorial Responsibilities. In the event that the editors, based on the information provided by the submitting author, determine that a significant conflict of interest exists, all authors of the manuscript will be asked for additional written information about areas of concern. If it is discovered that a conflict of interest was not disclosed by the authors:

    The editors have the right to take any action deemed necessary, based on the severity of the omission, to protect readers from misinformation.
    The editors have the right to take any action deemed necessary, based on the severity of the omission, to protect the journal from negative consequences.
    Actions may include removing a submitted manuscript from the review process, rejecting a submitted manuscript, retracting a published manuscript, publishing a correction to a published manuscript, notifying the authors’ institutions of misconduct, banning the authors from submitting any future manuscripts to JANAC, or any combination of the above.

    RETRACTION. Regnerus lied in his published papers, June/July and then again in August 2012, by saying that his funders were not involved with study design, et cetera. UCF’s James Wright was made aware of Regnerus lie, but published the same lie a second time anyway.

    Blackwell is arguing against policies that his own Elsevier journal claims to uphold.

  26. Scott Rose says

    The Many Faces Of Brad Wilcox: Instigator, Administrator, Paid Consultant, And Peer Reviewer Of The Same Study

    Incredibly, it appears that one of the anonymous peer reviewers of the Regnerus study, was Professor Brad Wilcox, who was involved in the study at every level.

    I’m amazed I haven’t seen more people talking about this revelation in Inside Higher Ed – although, to be fair, they buried it pretty deep in the story:

    In an e-mail, Wright said he has never publicly disclosed who reviewed the articles and doesn’t plan to. But he said that both “Amato and Wilcox mentioned their prior involvement with the Regnerus study in response to my initial reviewing request. I asked, as I always do, whether this involvement precluded their writing an objective review. Both said no and so both were asked to proceed.”

    That’s James Wright, editor of Social Science Review, identifying Paul Amato and Brad Wilcox as two of the three anonymous peer reviewers who vetted the scientific methodology of the Regnerus study. (The Regnerus study is the discredited “study” of gay parenting designed to smear gay parents, as you’ll recall.)1

    Paul Amato had a minor role as a paid consultant on the study, and has said “In retrospect, I understand that providing a review was not a good idea, because one should avoid even the hint of impropriety in matters like this.”

    Amato’s duel role doesn’t seem like a big deal. Wilcox’s role is far more unethical.

    Philip Cohen provides a useful timeline of events. Wilcox was involved with the Regnerus study before Regnerus himself ever heard of it. Here is the 2010 portion of Cohen’s timeline:

    September 3, 2010: Witherspoon’s Luis Tellez writes to a research company, “At the request of Brad Wilcox, I am sending you a description of ‘The New Family Structure Study.’” Later that month he writes to Regnerus, “It would be great to have this before major decisions of the Supreme Court.”
    September 21, 2010: Regnerus writes to Wilcox to nail down administrative details with Witherspoon, “And per your instruction, I should think of this as a planning grant, with somewhere on par of $30-$40k if needed” (Wilcox approves).
    October 2010: Regnerus’s $55,000 planning grant from Witherspoon begins.
    October – December, 2010: Regnerus attempts to recruit consultants. (“Why am I running this project, you may wonder. Good question. Pragmatically, probably because Brad Wilcox is swamped…”)
    So Wilcox got the ball rolling on the study, arranged the financing with the right-wing Witherspoon foundation, and according to Regnerus, might have personally run the study if he had more time. Wilcox was also the one to suggest Social Science Review as a home for the study, and was paid $2000 as a consultant on the study.

    Wilcox is obviously not an objective reviewer. To use Wilcox as a reviewer of a study that he himself all but created makes a mockery of the peer review system. Wright never should have asked Wilcox to be a peer reviewer, and Wilcox, once asked, should have had the integrity to refuse.

    In October of 2012, in answer to an email I sent him, Wilcox downplayed his involvement with both Witherspoon and the Regnerus study. At the time – based on years of infrequent-but-friendly contacts with Brad Wilcox, and on Brad’s assurances that he was only peripherally involved – I defended Wilcox both in private emails and in public, writing that there was “nothing unethical” about Wilcox’s involvement.

    I cannot hold that opinion today. It is plain that Brad Wilcox has abused his position of trust (both as an academic and a peer reviewer), and has deliberately deceived me and the public about his actions and his involvement with the Regnerus study. I’m sorry to say, I can’t imagine ever trusting Brad Wilcox again.

  27. Somewhere says

    Scott Rose,

    I would like to reaffirm what others were kind enough to say to you that I appreciate your efforts in trying to right a wrong, to help the LGBT communities.

    Dr. Blackwell clearly is an ally, and not at all in alignment with Regnerus and his ilk. His reasons for not wanting to go ‘on record’ are reasonable. His condemnations of the pseudo-science are thorough.

    As was pointed out, your own credibility is at stake too. I’ve read all the comments here, and do not agree with you about Dr. Blackwell. You have committed a false positive. From my perspective, you are exhibiting the behaviour of a ‘cannibalistic gay’. Please stop digging your heels in on Dr. Blackwell, and focus your dark-side energy on the offending parties.

  28. Somewhere says

    Scott Rose,

    Also, you’re monopolizing the comments section. This isn’t the first time. Please try to get your point accross more concisely.

    And all T no shade, do you really think people are going to read everything you post when a lot of it is pure copy/paste? Just saying.

  29. Alan Katz says

    Dr. Blackwell,

    It is, sad to say, your own fault that you’re being attacked for what you posted.

    Though I thank you for your service to the LGBT community and do not question your “loyalty” to LGBT equality, I must say you chose a battle that you cannot win with a defense that is paper-thin, at best.

    Your concern seems to be the integrity of the peer-review process, and you’re happy that the court did not rule to expose the perfidy, in this particular case, to the cleansing transparency of daylight.

    The problem is, you’re simply wrong. I, too believe in the anonymous peer-review process. But I believe, even more strongly, in rooting out corruption and fraud in that process. You now have a situation in which even the best-educated LGBT people and their straight allies hold the entire scientific establishment, and its journals, suspect – and they’re quite right to do so.

    I can’t think of anything that would harm peer-reviewed science more than a terrible case of damaging peer-review fraud being swept under the rug. This plot, and its participants, need to be exposed, and the articles retracted.

    I don’t know how much you know about it, but this paper was actually part of a huge anti-gay conspiracy. It was hatched at the Heritage Foundation between Witherspoon and NOM with the specific purpose of “muddying the waters” in upcoming court cases, including both the DOMA and Prop 8 cases that were pending at the Supreme Court at the time. Although they removed it from their brief at the last moment, Oklahoma’s attorney demonstrated exactly what the study’s creators intended – to give the states a “rational” reason to make their marriage bans Constitutional. Rational review is a very low standard to meet, so if they could show ANY detriment that could be caused, no matter how slight, from Marriage Equality, they could legally outlaw it – even if they only had a reason to “fear” that damage might result. Which is why Regnerus’ study was so perfect, and his own testimony has been that it has not been proven, with scientific certainty, that LGBT families do not harm children, and therefore, Marriage Equality must be put off until it has been. Regnerus is the turd in the ocean, the seed of doubt the states are hoping to plant in their end-run around the 14th Amendment.

    It was all part of an ongoing scheme by the religious anti-gay forces to give their bigoted lies legitimacy by promoting anti-gay, Christian scientists.

    So, in comes Wilcox, who heads up the program for Witherspoon, and HE recommends and hires Regnerus to do this study – and defines its predetermined conclusions. Then, he helps Regnerus engineer the study, analyze the data and recommends, before it’s even completed that Regnerus submit it to the journal, “Social Science Research” where, of course, Wilcox sits on the Editorial Board.

    All of them swear that the funder (Witherspoon) had no part in the design and implementation of the “study”, when in fact, they had their dirty fingers in that particular pie throughout every stage.

    Wright, looking to juice up citations to keep Elsevier happy, is overjoyed to publish a “controversial” study, even if it is nothing but a major scientific hoax.

    They got their “peer reviewed” study, and used it at the Supreme Court. It didn’t work. They used it in Hawaii. It didn’t work. Then, they used it at trial in Michigan and the judge proclaimed the study a fraud and Regnerus a “hired gun” and dismissed it out of hand.

    Not to be discouraged, Bryan Brown of NOM ran around the world (Hawaii, Russia, Uganda) to prove to governments that gays are hideous human beings who should not be allowed to be parents. There is, quite literally, blood on his hands, and Wright, Elsevier, UCF and Wilcox all sport their share of it.

    And yet, you come here and suggest that exposing this fraud for all the world to see will harm the peer-review process? Boy did you get that one wrong, which is why so many people are questioning your motives.

    It may be the ONLY thing that will save the peer-review process. Regnerus, Witherspoon and Wright have damaged LGBT families incalculably, but also damaged scientific credibility, almost as badly.

    I thank Scott Rose and John Becker for dedicating so much of their time, fortune and passions to making sure the world knows that this is all a lie.

    If you care more about humanity than your sacrosanct (and now, corrupted) academic processes, you will join the rest of us in exposing this evil conspiracy.

  30. Scott Rose says

    Blackwell’s duplicity is further seen, in the fact that the legal issue in Becker’s case doesn’t even remotely involve peer review. It involves, rather, whether the documentation Becker requested is “responsive” documentation, i.e. whether it must be released under Florida’s state Freedom of Information Act laws, called the “Sunshine Laws.” The legal question covers, also,those parts of the documentation that Becker requested that are not directly related to peer review of Regnerus et al. Read the two decisions — the first one saying that the material was responsive and had to be released, and then the second, overturning that decision. (It must be noted that the first judge saw the requested documentation in chambers; the second judge opted not to). The decisions do not hinge on and in fact barely mention peer review. Like the Wright associate and Elsevier patsy Darren Sherkat, Christopher Blackwell says in essence “This hoax was bad, but don’t hold anybody accountable for it.” He is being “a company man” for both UCF and Elsevier. He is as bad as the original hoaxsters.

  31. Scott Rose says

    As a further note, Blackwell’s behavior is consistent with that of all UCF administration, faculty and other representatives.

    Grant Heston, for example, in UCF’s public communications office, first said that Regnerus et al had “nothing” to do with UCF because the “research” was conducted at a different school.

    The lie there, is that without publication in what is perceived to be a peer reviewed scientific journal, the Regnerus and Marks papers and their supportive papers would be NOTHING. The gross editorial misconduct occurred at UCF, not at another university.

    Then, after this latest decision, Heston changed his tune, and said that the decision not release the documentation was a “victory” for public universities in Florida.

    Logically, he impeached himself; if Regnerus et al had “nothing” to do with UCF, then this latest court decision, (which will be overturned on appeal) cannot be a “victory” for anything in Florida.

    UCF’s overall aim in this is to hold nobody accountable for the Regnerus hoax, even though it is UCF’s Provost Distinguished Research Professor who most needs to be held accountable.

    How curious, that out of the thousands of academics who say that Wright should be held accountable, not a single one is at UCF.

  32. Scott Rose says

    P.S. — to a detractor named only “Somewhere,” what have YOU done to get people held accountable in the Regnerus hoax?

    The fact that commenter Alan Katz, above, was able to so thoroughly explicate the Regnerus situation certainly has more to do with my investigative, reporting and commenting activity than with your trivializing, condescending toro excrement.

  33. Scott Rose says

    P.S. — to a detractor named only “Somewhere,” what have YOU done to get people held accountable in the Regnerus hoax?

    The fact that commenter Alan Katz, above, was able to so thoroughly explicate the Regnerus situation certainly has more to do with my investigative, reporting and commenting activity than with your trivializing, condescending toro excrement.

  34. Jay says

    Dr. Blackwell, as a colleague of James Wright, you should be concerned about the horrible reputation UCF has gained through this charade. The peer reviewers are already known. Their conflicts of interest and collusion with Regnerus and the Witherspoon Institute are known. They are the ones that have corrupted and made a mockery of the peer review process. It is beyond absurdity for you to defend the withholding of documents on the ground that that would somehow harm the peer review process.

    The question isn’t just that the paper in question is so absurd that no sociologist with any sense would find it credible, but that the journal itself abetted and perhaps colluded in academic fraud.

    If you really care about academic integrity, you would be agitating at UCF for the immediate release of the documents. Instead, you are attempting to defend the coverup of the Regnerus fraud.

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