John M. Becker

Becker v. UCF, Day 1

Filed By John M. Becker | April 09, 2014 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Florida, James Wright, junk science, lawsuit, Mark Regnerus, parenting study, Regnerus study, same-sex parenting, Social Science Research, UCF, University of Central Florida

Good afternoon, readers! If you're wondering why I've been quieter than usual these past two days, it's because I've been traveling, preparing for, and attending the latest hearing in Becker v. University of Central Florida, my open-records lawsuit seeking public records relating to and providing context about the peer review and publication of the anti-LGBT Regnerus "study" that falsely claims children of same-sex couples do worse than those of opposite-sex couples. Social Science Research (SSR), the journal that published Regnerus's paper, is housed at UCF.

JamesWright.jpgThe hearing is scheduled for April 9 and 10 in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Orlando; the honorable Judge John Marshall Kest is presiding.

As of this writing (3:30 P.M. EDT), the entirety of the day has been spent taking the testimony of Dr. James Wright (right), the editor of Social Science Research and the Provost's Distinguished Research Professor in UCF's sociology department. Attorneys for UCF and Elsevier -- the company that publishes SSR -- are trying to put distance between the operations of the journal and that of the university itself.

My attorney, Andrea Flynn Mogensen, argues that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two entities, as evidenced by the allocation of university resources -- including email addresses, server space, and finances -- to SSR business. She further introduced evidence that the operation of the journal is directly related to the mission of the university.

During his testimony today, Wright revealed that in response to my lawsuit, UCF has moved all journal-related correspondence off of university email servers and onto private Gmail accounts, likely in order to avoid falling under the purview of Florida's Sunshine Law and avoid further public records requests.

The defendants will also call Ann Corney, an executive publisher at Elsevier from the United Kingdom, to testify today. I expect to be called to the witness stand tomorrow.

I'm seeking these records from UCF, with the help of the Human Rights Campaign, in an attempt to find out whether SSR's peer review and publication of Mark Regnerus's New Family Structures Study was as ideologically compromised as the study's design and data collection processes were shown to have been.

The NFSS has been roundly discredited by the mainstream scientific and academic communities. Last month, when the state of Michigan called Regnerus as an expert witness in its defense of marriage discrimination, federal judge Bernard Friedman shredded his testimony as "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration." Friedman described the NFSS itself -- which Wright's reviewers approved and Social Science Research published -- as "hastily concocted at the behest of" a biased "third-party funder," and even used quotation marks around the word "study" when referring to it.

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