Let's play a game. Let's say, hypothetically, that you're a sociology professor at a prestigious university. You're approached by a coalition of ideologically-driven advocacy groups who offer you a nice paycheck in exchange for concocting a fancy-looking (if methodologically dubious and scientifically flawed) "study" that gives them cover for their views and can be deployed for culture-war purposes.
You agree and cook up the study (cutting a few corners, but who's counting?), it's published, and the funders waste no time putting it to use. But the whole thing soon unravels: your colleagues denounce your work, investigative journalists uncover the agenda behind it, and when you're cited as an "expert" in a court of law, the judge dismisses your study and your testimony as "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration." Still with me?
Now, with your academic impartiality in tatters and your "research" so categorically disgraced, you'd probably slink out of the spotlight with your tail between your legs and lay low for awhile, right?
I know I would, but then again, I'm not discredited anti-LGBT "researcher" Mark Regnerus. He's already hit the right-wing lecture circuit, definitively revealing himself to be the anti-gay ideologue we knew he was all along, but today -- incredibly -- he's out with another "study" attacking LGBT people and their push for equal marriage rights. Details, after the break.
Writing in Public Discourse, an online journal published by the right-wing Witherspoon Institute (which incidentally is the primary funder of his disgraced "New Family Structures Study"), Regnerus essentially claims that supporters of marriage equality are far more likely to be immoral heathens who endorse pornography, casual sex, infidelity, abortion, living together before marriage, and even the dreaded "thruple":
"Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage are more likely to think pornography, cohabitation, hook-ups, adultery, polyamory, and abortion are acceptable. And it's reasonable to expect continued change in more permissive directions...
"[T]here is a pretty obvious fissure between Christians who do and do not oppose same-sex marriage. More than seven times as many of the latter think pornography is OK. Three times as many back cohabiting as a good idea, six times as many are OK with no-strings-attached sex, five times as many think adultery could be permissible, thirteen times as many have no issue with polyamorous relationships, and six times as many support abortion rights. The closest the two come together is over the wisdom of a married couple staying together at all costs (except in cases of abuse)...
"Given the rather massive divide in attitudes about sexual and romantic relationships evidenced in the table above, reference group theory--if employed here--would suggest that the current division between these groups of churchgoing Christians will remain far into the future. Even if a share of American Christians who presently oppose same-sex marriage track in more liberal directions--and it would be shrewd to presume that this will occur--those Christians who already support same-sex marriage are themselves still tracking in that same direction. And, from the looks of it, they have plenty of territory to cover yet."
Regnerus then has the audacity to claim that he's "not suggesting any 'slippery slope' sort of argument here." (You believe him, right?)
Even if you do take Regnerus at his word, the National Organization for Marriage
Discrimination -- the infamous anti-marriage equality group that's intimately linked with Regnerus's discredited "study" -- is unscrupulously suggesting that very thing. In a post on the group's blog and a money beg blasted out to supporters, NOM President Brian Brown claims that marriage equality is part of a "terrible social experiment" whose end goal is unrestrained sexual hedonism:
"Activists trying to force a redefinition of marriage on America have constantly evaded the question, 'what is marriage?' Meanwhile, they have insisted that gays and lesbians simply want access to the same sacred institution of marriage and that they don't intend to change anything about that institution. But the survey responses from gay men and lesbians themselves don't support these claims. The institution envisioned by those who want to redefine marriage isn't faithful... it isn't exclusive... it isn't permanent... put bluntly, it isn't marriage...
"The report documents that gays and lesbians have a very different view of the core values of marriage that we hold, and that have been at the heart of biblical marriage since the beginning. For example, over 80% of non-Christian gays and lesbians believe no strings attached sex is OK. Nearly 80% of them say viewing pornography is OK. Three-quarters say pre-marital cohabitation is a good idea. And an astonishing 37% say that marital infidelity is sometimes a good thing...
"This study should sound an alarm and serve as a wake-up call to those who want to remain silent in the face of the movement to redefine marriage, because that movement seems to correlate with a push to abandon traditional sexual morality altogether." [All emphases theirs.]
If you'd like to know, dear reader, how completely tone-deaf, thoroughly unhinged, and wildly desperate NOM is these days, this new
study fever dream is exhibit A. Do you think they know they've lost their crusade against marriage equality and are just phoning it in at this point?
I mean, come on. The only thing more absurd than the claim that same-sex marriage will lead to an explosion of infidelity, polygamy, and porn is the delusion that anyone's going to take another Regnerus "study" seriously.
Go home, NOM. You're drunk.