Opinion: Editor Of Anti-Gay Regnerus Study A Menace To LGBT Families And Community

Exposing the biased nature of this study should be a major concern for every LGBT/T person who is a parent or supports the parental rights of all LGBT/T people.

It was pointed out to me today that right wing extremist publications such as The National Review are using this dubious study to reinforce bigotry directed against LGBT/T parents. See:  Lesbian Mothers’ Children

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/opinion-editor-of-anti-gay-regnerus-study-a-menace-to-lgbt-families-and-community/news/2012/11/12/51173

by Scott Rose
on November 12, 2012

Reposted with permission

James Wright is editor of the Elsevier journal Social Science Research. Because Wright allowed Mark Regnerus‘s booby-trapped anti-gay study with NOM-linked funding to be published through a corrupt process in violation of science publishing ethics, many leading scholars are calling for James Wright to be fired from Social Science Research.

It is true; given what Wright enabled with his illicit publication of the Regnerus study alone, he undermined the trust on which science is based.

And, Wright and Elsevier have sent a clear message to anti-scientific, radical anti-gay-rights factions, that they are for sale, and that it is possible to get pseudoscience that has been booby-trapped against LGBTers published through Wright with Elsevier.


What makes Elsevier and James Wright such serious menaces to the LGBT community, is that Elsevier has assigned James Wright to be editor-in-chief of The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition.

If trust does not begin getting restored right now, if Elsevier refuses to commit to upholding at least bare minimum standards of science publishing ethics, then when that 2nd edition of the Elsevier Encyclopedia appears, it could very likely be stuffed absolutely full to bursting with hoax studies commissioned by anti-gay-rights organizations that know that with James Wright driving the Elsevier bus, profits are in the front seat and the bus is running clear over science publishing ethics, smashing science publishing ethics to smithereens.

We must keep in mind that National Organization for Marriage strategy documents released only through court order described plans for an “Expert Witness Project.”

Imagine how empowered NOM feels right now, having, so far, successfully pulled off the Regnerus hoax, and knowing that Elsevier and Wright are thrilled with how the hoax upped the Social Science Research journal’s “impact factor.”

It is essential to remember that NOM’s recent political losses in the United States have made its bigot leaders more determined than ever to spread ignorance-and-lies-based anti-gay hatred around the world, including to countries that promote murdering people only because they are gay.  We must take a firm and unwavering stand against Elsevier and James Wright giving an unwarranted imprimatur of scientific respectability to anti-gay hatred and lies.

We have a worldwide human rights duty of conscience to stop James Wright and Elsevier from profiting from unseemly hate speech in the false disguise of a “study.”

Certain scholars not currently active in the drive to get the Regnerus study retracted nonetheless do not mince their words when speaking about it. For example, Dr. Judith Stacey says this: ”I certainly agree that the review process at the journal was seriously flawed and that the article should not have been published.”

Wright’s violations of science publishing ethics are already copiously documented.


One very serious infraction will serve here as an example of what makes Elsevier and James Wright so dangerous to the community.

Regnerus was funded chiefly by the NOM-linked Witherspoon Institute.

In 2010, a study supposedly to be on gay parenting was organized by the Director of the Witherspoon Project for Marriage, Family and Democracy, W. Bradford Wilcox.

Wilcox recruited Regnerus to do the study. Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $55,000 planning grant. Wilcox and Regnerus then collaborated on the study design. Subsequently, Witherspoon approved the study design and arranged for Regnerus to have his full $785,000 in study funding.

Wilcox was extensively involved in the remainder of Regnerus’s study, and, he is on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus, Elsevier’s Social Science Research. Yet, no further details of Wilccox’s involvement in the study are necessary to making the present point.

In his published study, and then again in his more recent Additional Analyses, Regnerus makes the false claim that no study funding agency representatives were involved in his study design or in otherwise conducting his study.

Wright, Regnerus and Wilcox did not disclose Wilcox’s multiple conflicts of interest of their own free wills. Rather, investigations unearthed the documentation that Wright had published a lie from Regnerus involving Wright’s editorial board member Wilcox.

Moreover, Wilcox’s conflicts of interest with Regnerus’s funders do not stop with The Witherspoon Institute. Regnerus received $90,000 for the study from The Bradley Foundation, which contributes money to The Ridge Foundation, whose chief officer is Brad Wilcox. (On page 3 at this link, you may see the Bradley Foundation’s $20,000 grant to Wilcox’s Ridge Foundation).

In response to being exposed in these ways, Wilcox is attempting to deny his connection to the funders by saying that his title of Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy was “honorific.”

That is fooling exactly nobody.

Sociologist Philip Cohen says this: “I find this description not credible. I do not think any reasonable auditor or ethical agency would subscribe to the idea that the “director” of an organization was not an “officer” of it.”

Sociologist Dr. Lori Hollyfield says this:

“For Wilcox to use the word “honorific” about his position of Witherspoon Program Director, and Regnerus study design collaborator, is a veiled attempt to turn back the clock. But the damage is done, and the credibility of this study is absolutely, indisputably undone. That Wilcox was a study designer, and that was not disclosed, is alone enough to justify retraction. The further possibility that he was a peer reviewer just adds weight to the case for retraction.”

“It is especially unacceptable that the conflict of interests were hidden, and that there is an ongoing attempt to deceive the public about them.  It adds insult to that injury, that what was produced was a methodologically invalid study that perpetuates negative social stereotypes. This is a very malevolent situation; something must be done about it.” (Bolding added).

Elsevier officials and James Wright have been shown the documentation that Wilcox was a Witherspoon Program Director and that in that capacity, he recruited Regnerus to do Witherspoon’s study on gay parents, and then collaborated with Regnerus on the study design before Witherspoon approved Regnerus for full study funding.

Instead of correcting Regnerus’s lie, Elsevier and James Wright knowingly repeated the lie in publication.

Witherspoon, caught out lying on its stand-alone website for the Regnerus study, scrubbed incriminating evidence from their site, though we already had screenshots of that incriminating evidence.

People sponsoring, carrying out and publishing honest work do not have to lie in these ways.

In telling the public the lie that Regnerus’s funders were not involved in designing or conducting his study, Witherspoon and Regnerus are deliberately attempting to mislead the public into believing that Regnerus carried out his study independently of his funders and their anti-gay-rights political goals for the study.

Yet, Elsevier and James Wright have upon their shoulders an even heavier weight of accountability for disseminating that lie to the public, as they, not Regnerus, make the decisions of whether to publish.

With their planned, upcoming 2nd edition of Elsevier’s International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier and James Wright are capable of foisting any number of booby-trapped anti-LGBT “studies” off into the world.

Both Elsevier and James Wright must be counted as very serious menaces.

Sir William Timothy Gowers, British mathematician, is a Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University. He is the leader of a boycott against Elsevier. Gowers has said:  ”a piece of blatant anti-gay propaganda has been published in the otherwise respectable journal Social Science Research. The research was, it appears, indirectly funded by anti-gay campaigners and is now being gleefully used to help Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The refereeing process seems to have been accelerated as well. Most importantly, the paper is bunkum and shouldn’t have been accepted: its conclusion (that children do worse if they have gay parents) is not remotely justified by the data used. So who publishes the journal Social Science Research and is not interested in investigating whether proper academic standards have been upheld? I surely don’t need to spell it out.” (Bolding added).

It is far past time for Elsevier to start behaving responsibly and to restore the trust that was shattered with the corrupted publication of the Regnerus submission. The Regnerus study must be retracted from publication, and James Wright must be fired from Elsevier, if the trust on which science is based is to begin to be restored.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’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 “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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