The University of Texas has cleared one of its academics of a ‘scientific misconduct’ charge after a complaint was lodged against him as a result of research he published comparing children raised by same-sex couples with children raised in other families.
The research, by associate professor of sociology, Mark Regnerus, showed that children raised by same-sex parents fared more poorly on a range of measure than children raised by their own married, biological parents.
However, much of the difference might be explained by the fact that there was a great deal of instability in the relationships between same-sex couples.
The study, published in the journal, Social Science Research, caused huge controversy because it seemed to contradict other research purporting to show that children raised by same-sex couples do at least as well as children raised by their own biological, married parents.
Those studies are almost invariably based on small, non-random samples whereas the Regnerus study was based on a larger, random sample.
However, the Regnerus study was roundly condemned by gay marriage supporters. One of the chief reasons is that it did not compare children raised in stable, same-sex families with children raised in stable, opposite-sex families.
Defenders of the Regnerus study countered that a sufficiently large and randomly generated sample of stable, same-sex couples raising children could not be found.
One activist lodged a scientific misconduct complaint with the University of Texas against Regnerus.
However, yesterday the university determined that “no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research.”
It said: “As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large. The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.”
Reacting to the decision, the Alliance Defending Freedom stated: “America’s universities should always serve as truth-seeking, free marketplaces of ideas. Disagreeing with a study’s conclusions is not grounds for allegations of scientific misconduct; therefore, we are not surprised that those accusations were found to be baseless. This comprehensive, peer-reviewed research study consisted of leading scholars and researchers across disciplines and ideological lines in a spirit of civility and reasoned inquiry. We agree with the UT-Austin inquiry’s conclusion that the academy is the appropriate place for debate about this study.”