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Unfounded Research

The journal Science announced the retraction of an article published in December 2014, the findings of which had been used by militant champions of gay rights to plan their activities. The article said that political survey workers who went door to door to urge acceptance of gay marriage were more successful in changing the minds of conservative voters when they stated that they themselves were homosexual, allegedly demonstrating that personal experience serves as a factor in convincing people.

Such conclusions began to fall apart when two researchers from the University of California at Berkeley tried to repeat the study and observed that the results they obtained were much lower than those reported in the paper that appeared in Science. They contacted the research company that had contracted the survey workers, but it denied being the source of the information on which the original article was based. One of its authors, political scientist Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University, was advised of the problem and asked graduate student Michael LaCour, who had signed the paper as principal author, for the data on the people who had taken part in the survey. According to Green, the student refused to supply the information.