WHAT IS THE REGNERUS Â STUDY SCANDAL?
The anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute longÂ cultivated a relationship, with Regnerus before approaching him to commission a study that would demonize gay people and be available in time for pernicious exploitation during the 2012 elections.
The study — published onÂ June 10, 2012 — was ostensibly, but not actually, on gay parents’ child outcomes.
And, it was purpose-designed and booby trapped against real-life gay parents in the present day, though it did not study them.
Top officials of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute also have positions of authority over the anti-gay-rights National Organization for MarriageÂ (NOM).
NOM’s founder and mastermind Robert P. George, moreover, is a senior fellow with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, as well as a board member of the Family Research CouncilÂ (FRC), a Southern Poverty Law Center–certified anti-gay hate group known for spreading malicious falsehoods against its umpteen millions of victims, the entire LGBT community and heterosexuals supportive of LGBTers’ equality.
Since the publication of the fraudulent Regnerus study, enemies of gay rights — led by Robert George‘s anti-gay-rightsÂ Witherspoon Institute, NOM and FRCÂ — have been using the “study” as a basis for their anti-gay fear-and-hate-mongering disinformation campaigns.
In response to these anti-gay hate groups’ disinformation campaigns based on the fraudulent Regnerus study, responsible scientists have taken action to correct the scientific record to the public.
A Golinski-case amicus brief analyzing the Regnerus study as scientifically invalid,Â for example, was jointly filed by 1) the American Psychological Association; 2) the CaliforniaÂ PsychologicalÂ Association; 3) the American PsychiatricÂ Association; 4) the National Association of Social Workers; and 5) its California Chapter; 6) the American MedicalÂ Association; 7) the American Academy of Pediatrics; andÂ 8)Â the AmericanÂ PsychoanalyticÂ Association.
Separately, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent a letter to the journal Social Science Research, which published the fraudulent Regnerus study, complaining of its lack of intellectual integrity and its suspiciously rushed publication schedule. An audit revealed that the Regnerus submission had only gotten published through corrupt peer review.
In an echo of when the American Sociological Association banned Paul Cameron and declared that he is not a sociologist, due to his intentional distortions of the scientific record, the ASA is poised to take action against the Regnerus study.
Authorities of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon, NOM and FRC are notorious for wieldingÂ Cameron’s distortions of the scientific recordÂ as a weapon against their gay victims.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE REGNERUS STUDY IS FRAUDULENT?
Though the Regnerus study is an avalanche of anti-gay — and other — fraudulence, individual aspects of its fraudulence can be isolated and accurately described as fraudulent.
And, one element of fraudulence in the Regnerus study can easily be grasped through an analogy to shopping for stereo loudspeakers.
Once you have determined that you are going to buy one of two pairs of stereo speakers, you want to listen to them carefully — in an A/B comparison test — to know what acoustical qualities each pair of speakers has.
In order to judge the acoustical qualities of each pair of speakers in an A/B comparison test, you have to listen to them in the same listening environment.
If you listened to the one pair of stereo speakers up in a penthouse, but to the other pair on a busy subway platform, you would not have any rational basis for understanding how the one pair sounds compared to the other pair.
And obviously, the penthouse stereo speakers would benefit from insurmountable acoustical advantages over the subway speakers, even though in reality, that second pair of speakers might actually sound equally good — or better — were it heard up in the penthouse.
Now, here is the question Regnerus alleges he wanted to answer with his study:
“Do the children of gay and lesbian parents look comparable to those of their heterosexual counterparts?”
To answer that question, Regnerus did the equivalent of a stereo speaker A/B test, but he did it by comparing children of heterosexual parents to children of Â (improperly labeled) “gay” parents.
And, in his study, Regnerus did the equivalent of putting all of his heterosexual “control group” up in a luxurious penthouse while throwing all of his gay “test group” down onto a busy subway platform.
Then, Regnerus concluded that the children of gay people — whom he had thrown down onto the busy subway platform — looked worse and had less money than the heterosexuals he had put up in the penthouse.
For a more detailed explanation of how the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute and Regnerus booby trapped their study against gays, go here.
For an examination of the anti-gay Regnerus study as a one percenter’s dirty campaign trick, go here.
WHO IS BRAD WILCOX, AND WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO WITH THE REGNERUS SCANDAL?
W. Bradford Wilcox is Director of The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.
Wilcox holds positions of authority with many of the institutions caught up in the Regnerus scandal.
a) WilcoxÂ is theÂ DirectorÂ of Â the anti-gay-rightsÂ Witherspoon Institute‘s Program on Marriage, Family, and Democracy.
b) Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon InstituteÂ authorities — by coincidence — arranged for Regnerus’s $785,000 of study funding: Â Â Â
a) WilcoxÂ is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia
b) Regnerus’s study says that “leading family researchers” including at least one from — by coincidence — Wilcox’sÂ University of Virginia designed his (booby trapped) study:
a) WilcoxÂ is on the editorial board of the journal Social Science Research
b) Â The fraudulent Regnerus study was published through corrupt peer review in — by coincidence –Â Social Science Research
a) WilcoxÂ is on the editorial board of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute’s publicationÂ Public Discourse
b) After Regnerus contacted and cultivated a relationship with the gay basher Robert Oscar Lopez, a gay bashing essay by Lopez in support of the Regnerus study was published — by coincidence — on Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute’sÂ Public Discourse.
WILCOX’S BAD FAITH PROMOTIONS OF THE ANTI-GAY REGNERUS STUDY
Any trained sociologist would recognize the baseline scientific failures of the Regnerus study.
Regnerus compared a cherry picked heterosexual control group to a test group loaded up with confounding variables. Every Sociology 101 class teaches the necessity of eliminating lurking — to say nothing of glaring — variables.
By way of background on Baylor University:
On April 18, 2011, a New York Times articleÂ –Â Gay Rights at Christian Colleges Face SuppressionÂ — quoted Baylor University spokeswoman Lori Fogleman as saying:
â€œBaylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching.”
Then in November, 2011, Baylor University was criticized for hosting a special sociology course of study titledÂ Homosexuality as a Gateway Drug.
The Baylor letterÂ tells lies about the Regnerus study.
For example, Â the letter compares the Regnerus study to another study on gay parents’ children’s outcomes by researcher Daniel Potter.
Like the Regnerus study, the Potter study relied on unscientific speculation on whether the children considered actually had gay parents. Coincidentally, Potter is a recent product of Brad Wilcox’s University of Virginia.
The Potter study actually found that differences between children of gay and heterosexual parents are “nonsignificant.”
But, 1) in talking about the Potter study’s findings; 2) Brad Wilcox and his fellow anti-gay propagandists; 3) cut the word “nonsignificant” out of Potter’s published wording, in order to; 4)Â falsely allege that Potter’s findings prove that Regnerus was; 5) correct to conclude that gay parents’ children do worse than heterosexual parents’ children.
In the Regnerus and the Potter studies, the failure properly to ascertain whether children’s parents were verifiably gay parents reduces the studies to vicious gossip against gay people.
ONE OTHER EXAMPLE OF A LIE IN THE BAYLOR LETTER IS WORTH DETAILING TO DEMONSTRATE HOW DEEPLY DISHONEST THE SIGNERS ARE:
A little background information is necessary:
Rosenfeld drew several very important conclusions. One is thatÂ “children raised by same-sex couples have no fundamental deficits in making normalÂ progress through school.”
Another of Rosenfeld’s conclusions involves the relative values of 1) sociological studies about gay parents based on “large sample nationally representative data” versus; 2) Â studies based on smaller “convenience” and/or “snowball” samples.
Though smaller studies on gay parenting consistently find that sexual orientation per se does not impact child outcomes, critics allege that the smaller tests are not adequate to making that determination. Â Crucially, then, Rosenfeld concludes his study by saying this:
“The analysis in this paper, using large sample nationally representative data for the first time, shows that children raised by same-sex couples have no fundamental deficits in making normal progress through school. The core finding here offers a measure of validation for the prior, and much debated, small sample studies.”
THE BRAD-WILCOX-SIGNED, BAYLOR LETTER IN SUPPORT OF REGNERUS DELIBERATELY MISLEADS ABOUT THE ROSENFELD STUDY
Rosenfeld’s study on gay parents’ child outcomes used data from the 2000 U.S. Census.
By contrast, Regnerus’s study used data collected through Knowledge Networks, a survey administering company.
In his audit of SSR’s publication of the Regnerus study, SSR editorial board member very strongly criticizes Regnerus’s sloppy, prejudiced abuses of data had through Knowledge Networks. Sherkat, moreover, questions whether the Knowledge Network survey respondent panel can truly be “nationally representative,” given that it is 67.3% female and 32.7% male, which obviously does not reflect gender distribution in the population.
Baylor, however, outrightÂ lies,Â by saying that Regnerus’s study comes “close to resembling the demographics” of Rosenfeld’s study.
The Baylor letter, though, does not state that Rosenfeld’s data came from the 2000 US Census, not from Regnerus’s Knowledge Networks.
Then, from talking about Rosenfeld’s gay parenting study not based on a Knowledge Networks panel, the Baylor letter immediately jumps to talking about a different Rosenfeld study — not on gay parenting — for which Rosenfeld used Knowledge Networks.
The idea Baylor is intending to convey is that 1) Rosenfeld did a gay parenting study and used Knowledge Networks, so that proves 2) that there is nothing wrong with Regnerus’s use of Knowledge Networks.
The criticism is not that Regnerus used Knowledge Networks, the criticism is that Regnerus was sloppy with the data had from Knowledge Networks.
The Baylor letter:Â 1)Â does not address, still less rebut, the substantive criticism made of Regnerusâ€™s misuses of his Knowledge Networks data; and the Baylor letter also;Â 2)Â deliberately misleads by associating Rosenfeld with Rosenfeldâ€™s gay parenting study, to allege that Rosenfeld and Regnerus had very similar approaches in their gay parenting studies, without mentioning that RosenfeldÂ did not use Knowledge NetworksÂ for his gay parenting study, and that in contrast to Regnerus’s haphazardly and slapdash labeling of people as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” though they were not known to be that, Rosenfeld studied children being raised by gay couples known for sure to have been together for at least five years.
In other words, by means of suppressing crucial information about the Rosenfeld gay parenting study, the Baylor letter wrongfully alleges that the Regnerus and Rosenfeld studies are equally valid studies of gay parents’ child outcomes.
WILCOX’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN SIGNING THE BAYLOR LETTER IN SUPPORT OF REGNERUS
In signing the Baylor letter, Wilcox did not disclose the conflict of interest he had in signing it.
Because; 1) Wilcox is an official with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, and because; 2)Â the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute funded the Regnerus study, and because; 3)Â the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute is very heavily promoting he Regnerus study in anti-gay rights political contexts; 4) Wilcox behaved unethically in signing the Baylor letter without; 5)Â disclosing his status as an official of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.
Moreover, Wilcox was not the only official of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute who signed the Baylor letter with that same conflict of interest.
The lead signer of the Baylor letter, for example, was Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Director Byron Johnson, who also is a senior fellow with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.
NOW ASK YOURSELF:
WHEN IT COMES TO EVALUATING STUDIES ABOUT GAY HUMAN BEINGS, WHO MERITS MORE SCIENCE-BASED TRUST?
I) A Baptist University in Texas that “expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching;” (bolding added);
II)Â 1)Â the American Psychological Association;Â 2)Â the CaliforniaÂ PsychologicalÂ Association;Â 3)Â the American PsychiatricÂ Association;Â 4)Â the National Association of Social Workers; andÂ 5)Â its California Chapter;Â 6)Â the American MedicalÂ Association;Â 7)Â the American Academy of Pediatrics; andÂ 8)Â the AmericanÂ PsychoanalyticÂ Association.
WHAT EXACTLY DO WE KNOW ABOUT BRAD WILCOX’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE REGNERUS SCANDAL?
1)Â We know that at least one “leading family researcher” from the University of Virginia was involved in designing the booby trapped Regnerus study, and we know that Brad Wilcox is a “leading family researcher” at the University of Virginia;
2)Â We know that at least two of the Regnerus study’s peer reviewers were paid Regnerus study design consultants, meaning that it is possible that Brad Wilcox was one of the paid study design consultants who also peer reviewed the study and approved it for publication; (note that the journal that published Regnerus, Social Science Research, uses “blind” peer review and refuses to disclose the identities of its peer reviewers. Many scientific publications with reputations better than that of Social Science Research use open peer review, in which the peer reviewers’ identities are known.
3)Â We know that Brad Wilcox is a program director at the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, we know that the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute helps to fund Wilcox’s National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and we know that Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute has been heavily promoting the fraudulent Regnerus study in anti-gay-rights political contexts.
4)Â We know that Brad Wilcox is an editorial board member of Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study, and we know that the Regnerus study got introduced to SSR’s editor James Wright by some currently mysterious means and then rushed into publication through corrupt peer review on anÂ unprecedentedlyÂ rushed publication schedule.
5)Â We know that without disclosing his conflict of interest in signing the Baylor letter, Wilcox signed the Baylor letter, which is crammed with distortions of information related to scientific studies, and that all of those distortions are used in attempt support of the (invalid) Regnerus study.
6)Â We know that Wilcox and Regnerus previously have collaborated professionally; see here for an example. That study co-authored by Regnerus and Wilcox, with others, in fact won the ASA’s 2001 Distinguished Article award in the Sociology of Religion category. (Ironically, though Regnerus in his gay parenting study was cavalier and reckless about his improper classifications of people as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” his study with Wilcox consists of a proposed new scheme for classifying religious traditions, so that studies of religious traditions can be more accurate.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writerÂ Scott Roseâ€™s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His â€œMr. David Cooperâ€™s Happy Suicideâ€ is about aÂ New York City advertising executive assigned to aÂ condom account.
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On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV
The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.
The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”
The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.
The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.
Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.
Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.
World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.
Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.
John Fetterman Says Bob Menendez ‘Senator for Egypt,’ Should Be Expelled Next
Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) called Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) a “senator for Egypt,” and said he needed to be expelled from Congress, much like the now-former Representative George Santos.
Fetterman appeared on The View on Friday. The live broadcast aired as Santos had been kicked out of the House. When host Joy Behar asked what he thought of the vote, Fetterman immediately replied, “I’m not surprised.”
“If you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate? And, you know, Santos’ kind of lies were almost, you know, funny,” Fetterman said. “Menendez, I think is really a senator for Egypt, you know, not New Jersey. So I really think he needs to go.”
Host Sunny Hostin then asked if Fetterman was uncomfortable with expelling Menendez, as, like with Santos, he had only been indicted, not convicted.
“He has the right for his day in court and all of it, but he doesn’t have the right to to have those kinds of votes and things. That’s not a right,” he said. “I think we need to make that kind of decision to send him out.”
This September, Menendez was indicted on corruption charges. He is accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold and a car, as well as giving “highly sensitive” information about U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo to the Egyptian government, according to USA Today. Menendez was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was replaced by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s Democratic senator.
Menendez denied wrongdoing, and has refused to resign, despite many calls to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement following his indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
This is not Menendez’s first brush with the law. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on federal corruption charges. He was accused of helping Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s campaign contributors, by intervening in a dispute with federal regulators and helping Melgen get a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.
In 2017, Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury, and the Department of Justice declined to retry the case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Menendez denied all wrongdoing.
House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.
“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”
He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”
Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.
On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”
“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”
Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.
There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.
The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.
Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.
Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.
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