Posted by: Catherine Lugg | March 1, 2013

AERA is just mired in Reagan-era homophobia.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on March 26, 2013, in the case testing the Constitutionality of CA Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment banning marriage equity in California. Quite a number of professional and research organizations have filed Amicus Briefs with the Court, detailing the benefits of marriage equity, especial to children. From the Organization of American Historians, to the American Sociological Association, to the National Education Association, have all chimed in on the side of equity and justice.*


Now, the leadership of AERA will justify its SHAMEFUL silence as remaining “above politics.” This in and of itself is CLEARLY a political stance. The research is overwhelming regarding the harm, and in particular, the harm to children, inflicted by anti-queer legislation. Nevertheless, much like the Reagan-era executive branch, AERA would rather be on the WRONG side of science, the WRONG side of social justice, and the WRONG side of history than take a research stand that could be remotely seen as pro-queer. As I wrote in September 2010:

The extant research is clear that queer children suffer enormous physical and emotional violence in many US public schools. That AERA, as a collective body, is afraid of being “soiled” by being involved with advocacy for queer American school children misses the reality that they/we already are quite morally filthy by remaining silent in light of decades of the dismal data. I’ve asked this question repeatedly, but so far, to no avail: “How many dead queer kids will it take for AERA to finally give a damn?”

Clearly, although more than 2 years have passed since I first raised this question, the queer body count remains “insignificant” for the AERA boo-bahs. *SIGH!* How awful that I belong to organization that remains committed to homophobia that is strongly reminiscent of the Reagan era. To that end, I will remind the AERA boo-bahs that their continued SILENCE=DEATH.

* Additionally, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy Of Pediatrics, The California Medical Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychoanalytic Association, The American Association For Marriage and Family Therapy, The National Association Of Social Workers and Its California Chapter, and The California Psychological Association, have all filed a joint Amicus Brief. So have NFL players. Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo.


The American Sociological Association’s Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court is simply terrific.  It totally destroys the anti-queer parent study by Mark Regnerus. In fact, it will be nearly impossible for the haters to use the Regnerus study in future legal filings or in testimony without inviting some pretty intense methodological spankings. This is something that AERA *SHOULD* have done, *COULD* have easily done—but it doesn’t “do politics.” The conclusion from ASA’s brief just is terrific.

The social science consensus is both conclusive and clear: children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents as when they are raised by opposite-sex parents. This consensus holds true across a wide range of child outcome indicators and is supported by numerous nationally representative studies. Accordingly, assuming that either DOMA or Proposition 8 has any effect on whether children are raised by opposite-sex or same-sex parents, there is no basis to prefer opposite-sex parents over same-sex parents and neither DOMA nor Proposition 8 is justified. The research supports the conclusion that extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples has the potential to improve child wellbeing insofar as the institution of marriage may provide social and legal support to families and enhances family stability, key drivers of positive child outcomes. The Regnerus study and other studies relied on by BLAG, the Proposition 8 Proponents, and their amici provide no basis for their arguments, because they do not directly examine the wellbeing of children raised by same-sex parents.
These studies therefore do not undermine the consensus from the social science research and do not establish a “common sense” basis for DOMA or Proposition 8.
By stunning contrast, it’s clear that AERA is perfectly fine with being on the WRONG side of science, the WRONG side of social justice, and the WRONG side of history. Just pathetic……


  1. Yep, yep. AERA sucks, as usual. Maybe we should redefine the acronym as American Educators as Raging A&#%!^$. Is there anything progressive about educational institutions and associations these days?

  2. Donald, A-MEN!

    At this point, I would argue that there is very little that is educational or scholarly with AERA. It’s all of the institutional butt-covering careerism, all of the time.

  3. One of my colleagues used the term “research prostitution” when referring to AERA. I last went @ 4 years ago and was not very impressed. Maybe it is time to form a QAERA? I wonder if AERA just got too big and unfocused to have any sort of positive effect or influence – and too big to really promote effective dialogue and change.

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