Regnerus: Not Just for the Supreme Court Anymore!

Right now, the Minnesota State House is debating a same-sex marriage bill. According to this liveblog coverage from Minnesota Public Radio, one opponent of marriage equality invoked Mark Regnerus’s controversial/discredited study on the House floor, describing its results as “conclusively proven.” The study was apparently also cited in a Minnesota Senate hearing by an academic.*

I’m not sure how much it would matter, but the fact that Regnerus is still getting a lot of political play suggests that calls for a retraction might still be a reasonable political move for sociology. Opponents can, and are, calling out the study’s flaw in the MN House debate, but it’s a lot easier to point to the journal and say, the study was so flawed it was retracted.

Update: The bill just passed the House!

H/T to MM for the pointer.

*Does anyone know who the University of Minnesota faculty member that cited the Regnerus study in the Senate hearing is? There’s not much information in the MPR story. Update: The Regnerus study appears to have been discussed in the senate by Dr. Thomas Nevins, a University of Minnesota Pediatrician speaking in his individual capacity. Here’s the meeting minutes. If you go in the associated audio clip to about 1:24:35, you can hear his talk entirely about the Regnerus study, as “the most scientifically sound study” and “published in a peer-reviewed journal.”



  1. I am deeply appreciative of your writing about this. On numerous blogs I have been dismissed as a gadfly, and I am not, I am simply deeply informed. I have been following the Regnerus research since Day -1. Sociologists have stuck their head in the sand choosing to ignore the world wide deployment of this deeply flawed research.
    I track and have seen the deployment of this research. The typical attitude is, “Well we have discredited it in the Academy, nobody will take it seriously”. The critical problem with this attitude is, the deployment of it outside the Academy. Nobody cares about that. Well nobody who will do anything about it.

    I had been tweeting back and forth with the Leader of the Pro Gay Rights movement in France. I kept asking him to clarify his tweets so that I was sure I was understanding. Just the other day he was kind enough to put on the Leading Pro Gay Marriage Website in France, he added an English page explaining. And do you knwo what you will find on that page? Yup, Regnerus. Here take a look

    Unless and until this study is retracted Sexual Minorities and their straight supporters will have to constantly refute #Regnerus. Search on Twitter for #Regnerus I have taken lately to putting my information on where, world wide, Regnerus is being deployed under that Hashtag.

  2. Well, as long as we protect peer review, we (as sociologist) are safe. Though it looks like we’re losing ground on tenure! (

  3. Phillip

     /  May 10, 2013

    I agree with Fabio: retracting the study will only add fuel to the fire will only validate Regnerus’s findings (in the minds of those who oppose same sex marriages). Given this, why don’t sociologists who oppose amendments like these can make sure that the courts are knowledgeable about the limitations of Mark’s study, as well as the work of scholars whose findings contradict Mark’s.

  4. Phillip, it is NOT just the USA. This study is used world wide. I read about a court case in Belize, Central America. A man is before the Supreme Court of Belize to strike down their sodomy laws. I wrote to him to ask him if this Regnerus study is being used in his Court case, this is what he wrote back to me this week-

    “I have heard of the study and it was quoted in a national debate that I was in a while back, I immediately, question is validity right there and then on national TV. Thank goodness it has not been used in court battle, but nevertheless, has further confused our public on the issues.

    My opponent Louis Wade further said that it was a valid report because it came from a non-christian university. I was appalled.Thank you for the note.”

    What you, and that is the Royal You, meaning all of you, what you all fail to grasp is that the REASON this study, this study in particular, why this study is so very very very important (in a bad way) is because it is about children and that it purports to show that sexual minorities are harmful to children. I knew it the minute I read it how profoundly harmful this was going to be.

    It is not as easy as you say, that we should all just stay vigilant and alert people whenever we might guess in advance where this study will be used. This will be used in all kinds of Court cases that do not make it into the public sphere. It will be used in child custody cases for example. But the worst the WORST is how this IS (not will be but IS) being used globally. It is awfully hard for us individually to put the genie back int he bottle globally.

    Here is another example. Yesterday I listed to an hour and a half sermon from a Baptist Minister out of Singapore. He is the Pastor of a huge 9,000 mega church. It was an hour and a half sermon on fighting the Homosexual Agenda in Singapore and specifically Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities. He preached about meeting with Pastor Jim Garlow of San Diego CA (

    In his sermon he gave a brief reference to “there being a lot of social science research”, but he did not specifically name Regnerus. This Mega Church Pastor in Singapore puts on a huge conference with 4,000 Pastors April 30, 2013 & May 1, 2013 Featuring Jim Garlow. Jim Garlow put on conference on homosexuality July 27th 2012 at his mega church in San Diego. AT THIS July 2012 Conference: “ITAF Speaker Jenet Erickson: Regnerus Study Shows Children Of Same-Sex Parents Are More Likely To Face Sexual Abuse”

    Here is the website to the Singapore anti gay conference, and do download the brochure from this website

    I think there is a pretty strong association that the Singapore Pastor was referencing to Regnerus, don’t you think? Again the reason this study and ONLY this study, is so hugely important is because it purports to say that homosexuality is dangerous for children. That is a deeply profoundly damaging concept to put forth.

    We cannot put the genie back in the bottle. BUT what we can do, and what we should do, is Retract the study. At least give those sexual minorities in Singapore a fighting chance. Because Jim Garlow was there just 10 days ago telling them that gays are dangerous to children, and he has research out of the University of Texas to prove it. At least give the sexual minorities in Singapore a fighting chance, let them be able to say, “There is no study it was flawed and it was retracted.”

    This is why Phillip, it is simply not good enough to say, “We have discredited it at the Academy and that is good enough”. It isn’t good enough Phillip, it isn’t.

    This comment is getting rather long, but I can go to many many countries and show you just how deeply invidious this particular research paper is. As long as it has the Imprimatur of the University of Texas and it remains published, it is Gospel.
    There is more than sufficient justification to retract this study. It needs to be retracted.

    I can’t do what journalists do, and bloggers do, file Freedom of Information Act requests and write articles and start Court Cases. I did something quite different I tracked this. I track this literally around the world and I implore you to listen to me, this study is deeply damaging and for the sake of sexual minorities who are living in way worse countries than we are, this study needs to be retracted. It is WAY much bigger than the USA, it is.

  5. Oh my Gosh, sorry for the double post but that gay man in Belize who wrote to me About #Regnerus, I guess he has been getting DEATH threats

  6. And here again from France, the Home Page of the Anti Gay Opponents. You know the group that has protests of +300,000 religionists. Look to the right side of the page, Regnerus is listed under *A la une* This is the HOME Page –

  7. Belize -Killing -Burning and -Shooting Threats –
    “The main opponents to Orozco’s campaign work include local churches and Belize Action, a local anti-gay group whose chairman Scott Stirm is from the US state of Texas

    “Belize Action has broadcast numerous adverts in television and radio implying that gays are pedophiles, and that decriminalizing sodomy will lead to legalized male rape and the total collapse of social morality.”

    ” His lawyer Lisa Shoman told local news channel News 5 TV that the gay rights campaigner has received more and more threats since the case went before the Supreme Court on 7 May.”

    ‘There has been a visible increase of threats and violence against Mr Orozco and against all homosexuals in Belize.

    ‘There are threats for killing, burning, shooting; you name it. It has to stop. We are all Belizeans. We can agree to disagree without getting violent about it.’

    And remember this Gay Man in Belize has to fight back against the Mark Regnerus research which is being promoted in Belize. You can read his e-mail to me in the above comment.

    I am still upset over the comment Darren Sherkat made, “No one ever dies from Sociology”
    There IS a connection between this Regnerus Research and anti gay opposition. This research is literally jet fuel to those who oppose civil rights for sexual minorities. The opponents pull this out as justification, justification of their hatred and intolerance.

  8. Pastor Scott Stirm, Jubilee Ministries, Belmopan
    “Presently in the United Kingdom, there are lawsuits trying to lower the age of consent. That proves to me, the agenda. They are after the children, they are recruiting campaigns and it’s for people that have, I would say, demented sexual practices and they want to go after the kids. That is happening globally, all over the world. It’s called the child sex trade and this is another expression of that same exact agenda. They want to go to younger and younger ages. And again, these are the things that cause us to stand up and rise with a lion’s roar and say “no way”, we will not allow this to happen, not only our watch.”

    Both Wade and his Christian colleague Pastor Scott Stirm insist that no one is born gay and maintain Belize’s laws should uphold rights, not choices.

    Pastor Scott Stirm, Jubilee Ministries
    “It’s a learnt behavior…it’s something people pick up along the way. But I have ministered to I would say countless people, particularly in sexual abuse situations and the majority of them have been sexually abused. When you understand clinical homosexual behavior and clinical homosexual foundations, the absence of the fatherly role plays a huge factor. So you have people that have classic foundations for homosexuality. But then you have other people that just pick up from basic influence of perversion or exposing to pornography and the power of suggestion and things like that.”

  9. So my natural curiosity led me down a path of trying to examine the man who is creating such religious awakening in Belize. I always find it interesting when a young man would leave a first world country and move to a “third world country” such as Belize with his entire family. A man called Jim Jones did something similar when he moved to Guyana. I began to ask about Scott Stirm, a native of Waco Texas. (hmmm sounds eerily similar to another fanatic).

    Scott is affiliated with a Ministry in the US called Extreme Prophetic Ministries. Patricia King in the following video describes Scott Stirm as their “missionary in Central America, Belize” and called him a “prophet and wonderful intercessor: see Prophet . David Koresh was also called a prophet. There is nothing troubling about this video until you start to examine who Patricia King, the speaker is.

    Patricia King belongs to this ministry in the United States called Extreme Prophetic Ministries that reportedly is a part of the hardcore Seven Mountains Dominionism movement, which is also linked to the New Apostolic Reformation movement. Seven Mountains dominionism seeks to place Christians in control over the seven forces that shape and control our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion. I want my readers to grasp the order of which this is placed; business first and then government. Are they attempting “shape and control” Belize? Do you see any hard core personalities in the media today affiliated with Stirm? Didn’t they recently pressure the Minister of Education in his educational materials? I also read somewhere that Stirm is training a radical new set of Christians. Radical means favoring drastic political…reforms. Seven Mountains theology, believes that Jesus “doesn’t come back until He’s accomplished the dominion of nations.” And the way “dominion of nations” is accomplished is by having Christians gain control of these “seven mountains” in order to install a “virtual theocracy” overseen by “true apostles” who will fight Satan and his Antichrist agenda.” Explain to me again how they are preserving Belizean culture by this advocacy? Who will be these true apostles running the new theocracy of Belize?

    Additionally Patricia King has a reputation in Arizona for going to morgues and trying to raise the dead. Yes Raise the Dead! Check it out: Raised from the Dead Yikes…Nothing strikes me as crazy as the lady who believes she has Jesus power! She also makes a lot of infomercials and peddles the word of God for profit. Selling God. If you are buying God, they will sell it. I still cannot grasp how the established churches in Belize are part of this nightmare! Shame on the Catholic and Anglican Churches!


  10. Alliance Defending Freedom is providing legal advice to the anti gay groups in Belize which is stated to their own website.

  11. Just a FYI, I have a comment in moderation, probably because of multiple links.

    • Dear Str8grandmother,

      Perhaps you could just leave a link to a post on your own blog where you are updating everyone on these stories? At this point, they are getting a bit far afield from the original post.


  12. Dan, I understand your point of view and I have to say you have been very generous. I don’t have a blog, I am just a lady who saw that Regerus story come out and I just started tracking it. I guess I am not a “true” gay activist or else I would have a blog.

    It may seem to you Dan that my comments are far afield of the topic, which was “Look Regnerus is being used in Minnesota also” My comments were showing you, don’t stop at Minnesota it is actually global. I limited myself to just 3 countries, France, Belize and Singapore. I got more I didn’t even post, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, and Canada by way of Poland which is kind of interesting, oh just many many more countries. I purposely limited my self to just 3 countries in my comments on your blog.

    You have been more than generous Dan, you have. It would be a lot easier on me if other people were aware of the global influence of this study and it wasn’t just me having to make all the comments. I hope I have opened your eyes.

    • Dear SG,

      The basic point that this trend is global was very germane, and I was interested to hear it. The nitty-gritty details of who was citing the study in Belize, etc. seemed to merit their own discussion… So, why not start posting on your already existing wordpress site ( )? The information you’ve been digging up tracking the citations of Regnerus worldwide would be of interest to many, I’m sure, and would not get buried in the comments!


      • I didn’t even know that blogspot under my name existed!!! I had so much trouble trying to log into WordPress one time, and I kept getting taken to different screens for lost passwords etc. I bet that is when that thing got created. I wonder if when you sign up for a WordPress account so you can make comments, does everybody get their own WordPress webpage?

        I am not confident in my skills at being a blogger and writing up my information that way, but now that I see I already have a webpage maybe I should think about that. I wish the other real bloggers would keep investigating this. I mainly just track it globally, of course in tracking it that means I read a LOT of articles about it, but it is other people who have written the articles. You are probably right, I probably should write this all down in a blog because there is nobody doing what I have been doing, this specific little piece of l’affair Regnerus. The global impact. Thanks Dan, take care, -SGM

  1. Impact of Regnerus | Ethics in Counseling
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