Dear Dr. Regnerus...

I’ve sent this message to Mark Regnerus. I’ll let you know whether I hear back.

Dear Dr. Regnerus,

I write to inform you of an urgent problem: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is misrepresenting your research for its political campaign. As a serious scholar, you will surely want to ask them to correct this misuse of your work.

NOM’s “Rhode Island for Marriage” website* is telling people that according to your recent study:

  • Adults who were raised by a mother and a father are almost twice as likely to be employed full time compared to adults who were raised by a lesbian couple.
  • Adults who were raised by a lesbian couple are nearly 4 times as likely to be on public assistance compared to adults who were raised by a mother and a father.

Of course, your study says nothing of the sort. As you’re well aware, these are not the outcomes for children raised by lesbian couples, but for children whose mothers had a same-sex relationship at some point in their lives. Far from being the result of same-sex parenting, these disadvantaged children were mostly the products of broken heterosexual relationships. Only a small fraction of them spent even as little as three years being raised by same-sex parents.

More to the point: Your paper did not isolate outcomes for children of same-sex parents, so NOM is wrong to draw any numerical conclusions for that family structure from it.

You can see why I’ve alerted you to this problem. NOM is violating the integrity of your work. Your quick action would benefit not just the cause of civil discourse and effective public policy, but would help NOM itself. At this point, the Southern Poverty Law Center does not list NOM as a hate group, because the SPLC doesn’t designate an organization as such merely for opposing same-sex marriage. According the SPLC’s website:

“Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

NOM, obviously, is now straying into this area with its clear misrepresentation of your work and is putting itself at risk of being designated a hate group. It’s possible that NOM is merely in error, that it is not propagating a known falsehood, and that it has simply misread your work. You could assist them greatly by pointing this out to them.

I look forward to your response.

With much appreciation,
Rob Tisinai


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