The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Discredited Regnerus Study Touted in Push for Russian Anti-Gay Law

By Evelyn Schlatter on September 5, 2013 - 1:35 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda

One thing you can pretty much count on is the willingness of anti-gay propagandists to drag out every pseudoscientific and discredited study that alleges LGBT people are dangerous to children or others. That’s what’s happening in Russia.

Lawmaker Andrei Zhuravlyov introduced legislation today in the lower house of the Russian Duma that would deny gay and lesbian parents custody of their children. “Harm that could be inflicted on a child’s mental health in case of their parents’ homosexual contacts is immense,” Zhuravlyov asserted in a note attached to the legislation. To back this up, the bill cited the 2012 discredited study by University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus as proof that gay parenting is dangerous to children. Zhuravlyov claimed in his note that the Regnerus study’s findings were corroborated by unspecified “independent experts.”

Really?

Regnerus himself has admitted that his study isn’t really about LGBT parents at all, and hundreds of sociologists have noted its poor methodology and suspect funding sources (from large, anti-gay think tanks). The American Sociological Association slammed the study in a March 2013 amicus brief to the Supreme Court. And, in a recent interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, Southern Illinois University sociology professor Darren Sherkat, who exhaustively investigated how the study was approved at the request of the peer-reviewed academic journal that published it, said that he “completely dismiss[ed] the study. It’s over. He [Regnerus] has been disgraced.”

But that hasn’t stopped anti-gay groups here and abroad from touting the study as “proof” that LGBT people are dangerous to children. Since its release, Regnerus has become a poster boy for the anti-gay right, and has attended and spoken at various anti-gay venues (see here and here) and even signed on to a little-noticed anti-gay amicus brief filed this past spring with the Supreme Court.

The proposed anti-gay parenting law comes on the heels of President Vladimir Putin’s June signing of two other anti-gay laws. One bans the adoption of Russian children by foreign LGBT parents and the other outlaws “homosexual propaganda.” Since the bills were signed, violence in Russia has increased against LGBT people and their supporters, sometimes backed by police, and some critics are calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games near the Black Sea in Russia.

Anti-gay sentiment has exploded in Russia over the past few years, fed by economic woes, government corruption, and crumbling infrastructures. The spate of anti-gay laws and sentiment is part of a crackdown the Russian government is imposing on dissenters. As Russian human rights lawyer Sergei Davidis told the Christian Science Monitor, “the goal … is to focus public anger on gays, blasphemers, and foreign-inspired agitators, to create this feeling that Russia is a besieged state.” A lot of innocent people, Davidis added, “may suffer before it all unravels.”

  • aadila

    Rey, I agree. This is probably one of those false flag operations, like when Ruslan was suspected of being involved with the Raskolniks, when in fact he has much more in common with the Dukhobors.

  • Reynardine

    Aadila, I am sure Ruslan would allow no such monument to be built because of its potential effect on the geological substrate. Just keeping his remuda of Elasmotheria properly hayed and corned threatens to exhaust the chernozëm. We will not even discuss what is involved in shoing them.

  • Snorlax

    Boycott the Olympics!

  • aadila

    Sorry for the distraction folks but I am pretty sure this is of interest to the stammtisch:

    “Though it is not widely known, a secret Yankee government program is said to be in possession of an audio tape of Ruslan answering a few questions from Yuri Gregarin, who, like many in the country, admires Ruslan and considers him to be a national hero. It is reputed that the topic of the conversation was a 3,000-meter monument allegedly planned to honor Ruslan. However, it is well known in diplomatic circles that he would not stoop to such vulgarities, having already returned the medals for exploits against the Huns, claiming the mothers of his valiant comrades were the true heroes in the struggle against decadence and imperialism.

    (Excerpt from PRAVDA, February 1968).”

  • Linnea

    Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Russia has a long history of denying facts/science, going back to the Soviet era. Their public health policies, in particular, were an absolute horror show.

  • Reynardine

    Charles, I devoutly hope that by “boys”, you mean young men.

  • Sam Molloy

    Yes, Charles, and cute boys are the only good thing made in Russia. We can hope their weapons are as bad as their cars.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    NWO, Russia is not on a gold standard and while its debt is not a problem it is sizeable. Moreover, Obama and his pro_war buddies aren’t leftists.

  • NWOslave

    I remember some silly notion about every country having the self determination to decide how their country should be run and deciding their own ethics, morals and customs without interference from outside influences. Of course the leftists running the US war machine have cut a swath of death and destabilization from Libya to Pakistan over the past four and a half years and it looks like Syria is next on the hit parade.

    Nothing quite like a steady barrage of holy, progressive war drones to brighten Yemen’s day and keep them in line. Toss in a few billion for the political leaders in Yemen and they’ll sing the democracy tune. After all, war is simply an extension of state policy and we fight for ideology, democracy. Which is eerily similar to invading and killing for the ideology of communism.

    Of course the leftist war machine won’t stop until the whole world is one big unified democracy. Oddly enough, Russia is not indebted to the world banking cartel, it’s money is backed by gold and not fiat currency, and the laws promote the general health and welfare of the society as a whole, instead of crackpot social engineers. The so-called, self anointed intellectuals, who’ve decided they know what’s best for society.

    Have no fear lefties, you’ll get your WWIII, I’m just not sure you’ll be quite so thrilled with the results.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Not to defend Putin but people need to realize that all he did was approve the law which was the initiative of other people, specifically people who steal the nation’s wealth and thus have a need to distract everyone from this fact.

    Since the elections of 2011 the regime has faced numerous acts of protest, but what the Western news won’t tell you is that many of these protesters have fascist or fascistic views. Hence Putin’s approval of these laws is a way to throw them a bone, aiming at low hanging fruit.

  • http://www.burnthebibleassociation.com Charles Dan Austin

    I don’t know if Mr. Putin or other Russians will be reading this or not but Lesbians make wonderful parents I know because I had lesbian friends who were family by choice they as the parents and me as the kid for several years in Dallas during the 70′s. I don’t particularly think I would be good at the role myself but that’s just me it wouldn’t make me happy. I’ve been a boy lover all of my life and still contend that’s all being gay has ever been. I did not like my Father and Mother because of their religion(Southern Baptist) and never wanted to attend it much less join it. Mr Putin should read the Dutch records and remember that whether you like someone or not he’s not going to get rid of the problem by dealing with it this way. Freedom is always the best choice. Juarez boys are cute as El Paso boys any day.

  • Erika

    Sam, in our own American empire, it seems that ultimately the most popular scapegoat (especially among right wingers) is women. For some reason that strategy of demonizing the majority of the population hasn’t been very successful

    and i’m pretty sure that Coca Cola is one of the main sponsors of every Olympics games (and likely their contract with the IOC prevents them from speaking out even if they wanted to).

  • Tobias A. Weissman

    I heard Ellen Degenerous speak of her own gayness in an interview on one of the TV interview shows and she brought out a very interesting fact about herself. None of her family was gay, only she. She asked how come she was gay by choice? The same with gay parents, the children would follow their sexual instincts, not the parents.

  • Patricia Self

    Despite the intensive training our Olympic team has been enduring for the past years, I am thinking that for our country to participate in the 2014 Olympics would indicate a tacit approval of the politics/sociological practices evident in Russia today.
    Were we to send teams of our athletes over there, and if there were gay athletes among them, what would be the consequences?

  • Sam Molloy

    Normally a failing regime will find a scapegoat. In North Korea, it is the USA. In this case Putin is simply boosting his popularity, as a vast majority of Russians feel the same way toward Gay people, and victims’ screams do not cause the Police to be called. I have read that Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the Moscow Olympics, and they also sponsored the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. So like the old ads said, “Say ‘Pepsi, please’ “.

  • Robbie Frost

    Since this is Texas, Mark Regnerus no doubt still has a job. The similarity to 1935 Germany is very real.

  • http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com David Cary Hart

    As a Jew, I loathe Third Reich comparisons. Nevertheless, Russia’s anti-gay laws have a similarity to the 1935 Nuremberg laws. Those laws, which made Jews officially inferior, were based on racial pseudoscience.

    Russia’s anti-gay laws were, from the outset, based on sexuality pseudoscience; The notion that sexual orientation is actually a learned behavior. It was baloney to begin with.

    Adding the thoroughly discredited Regnerus study to the mix only serves to further demonstrate the lack of an intellectually honest argument in support of laws that have no real purpose to begin with.

    On April 7, Bill Keller offered the following commentary on Regnerus in the NY Times. Perhaps the would-be KGBers missed it:

    “In most cases, the parents subsequently broke up. In other words, this group wasn’t the offspring of committed gay couples but of failed unions, some of them probably sham marriages. It’s not even clear whether the parents who strayed were gay or lesbian, or simply experimenting. The second group consisted of kids who spent their childhoods in lasting, married, mom-and-dad families.

    Guess which group had problems?

    The study was pretty well demolished by peers. … Regnerus, when I talked to him, conceded that his study compared apples and oranges, because ‘I didn’t have oranges.’”

    Exactly why the Russian federation seeks to solve a problem that does not exist remains a mystery. Then they did so by constructing an ambiguous law that invites arbitrary enforcement.

    Masha Gessen wrote something to the effect that whatever the law means, she is reasonably sure that she violated it with her own children. For that reason she is changing her residence to the US (she has dual citizenship) along with her partner and their children.