Officials of University of Texas at Austin said Wednesday that no formal investigation was needed into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged by a homosexual activist against a professor's research study on the effects of same-sex relationships upon children.
"After consulting with a four-member advisory panel composed of senior university faculty members, the Office of the Vice President for Research concluded in a report on Aug. 24 that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation," the university announced in a statement Wednesday.
Scott Rose, a journalist from New York City and a pro-gay rights blogger, had made allegations about the study's author, Professor Mark Regnerus, in numerous letters to the university, after which an inquiry was conducted. The study by Regenerus showed that children of gay parents were less likely to succeed.
"America's universities should always serve as truth-seeking, free marketplaces of ideas," David Hacker, senior legal counsel of the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement Wednesday.
"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," Hacker added. "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."
A memorandum issued by the university, which states the inquiry's findings, said, "Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct when designing, executing, and reporting the research reported in the Social Science Research article. None of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth by Mr. Rose were substantiated either by the physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews. Several of the allegations were beyond the purview of the inquiry."
Scientific misconduct, as defined by the university, is: "fabrication or falsification of data, plagiarism, and other practices that seriously deviate from ethical standards for proposing, conducting, or reporting research are unacceptable and in some cases may constitute scientific misconduct."
The university noted that Regnerus' New Family Structures Study touches on "a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large." It also said it expects the scholarly community will "continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion."
Regnerus' study was published in the July issue of Social Science Research. It concludes that the children of parents who had same-sex relationships have more emotional and social problems than children of heterosexual parents with intact marriages.