Regnerus Affair timeline, with maze

Next Monday (8/12 and 2:30 pm) at the American Sociological Association meetings, the Sex and Gender section is hosting a session titled, “When the Professional becomes Political: Responding to the New Family Structures Survey.” Organized by C. J. Pascoe and Nathaniel Burke, the session includes papers by Andrew Perrin (with myself and Neal Caren); Simon Cheng and Brian Powell; Megan Carroll; and Tey Meadow. It should be great.


As a study aid for interested parties, I’ve prepared this updated timeline of the Regnerus Affair with links to sources.


  • September 3, 2010: Witherspoon’s Luis Tellez writes to a research company, “At the request of Brad Wilcox, I am sending you a description of ‘The New Family Structure Study.'” Later that month he writes to Regnerus, “It would be great to have this before major decisions of the Supreme Court.”
  • September 21, 2010: Regnerus writes to Wilcox to nail down administrative details with Witherspoon, “And per your instruction, I should think of this as a planning grant, with somewhere on par of $30-$40k if needed” (Wilcox approves).
  • October 2010: Regnerus’s $55,000 planning grant from Witherspoon begins.
  • October – December, 2010: Regnerus attempts to recruit consultants. (“Why am I running this project, you may wonder. Good question. Pragmatically, probably because Brad Wilcox is swamped…”)


  • May 2011: Regenerus’s $640,000 grant from Witherspoon begins.
  • August 19, 2011: New Family Structures Survey data collection start date (see article timeline).
  • August 22, 2011: Regnerus says he spent a day with Wilcox, Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family, and Scott Stanley “discussing public/media relations for the NFSS project.”
  • November 2011: Regnerus’s $90,000 grant from the Bradley Foundation begins.
  • Undated: Wilcox suggests to Regnerus that they send the paper to Social Science Research because “Steven Nock’s good friend Jim Wright is editor” and “Wright also likes Paul Amato.”
  • December 2011: Regnerus asks Wright “if he’d consider both reviewing the overview manuscript … and if he’d be speedy about it” (according to Regnerus’s email to Amato).


  • February 1, 2012: Paper officially received by Social Science Research.
  • February 2, 2012: Regnerus sends a copy of the paper to Amato, telling Amato he has suggested him to Wright as a reviewer.
  • February 21, 2012: Data collection end date.
  • February 24, 2012: Data file delivered to University of Texas “containing the collected data.”
  • February 29, 2012: Revised paper received by Social Science Research.
  • March 12, 2012: Paper accepted by Social Science Research.
  • April 2012: Wilcox bills $2,000 in consulting fees for the New Family Structures Survey.
  • June 10, 2012: Paper published online, with disclaimer, “the funding sources played no role at all in the design or conduct of the study, the analyses, the interpretations of the data, or in the preparation of this manuscript.”
  • June 11, 2012: American College of Pediatricians references the paper in its amicus brief filed in the case of Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management.
  • June 29, 2012: Letter signed by 200 researchers, organized by Gary Gates, to the editor and advisory board of the journal, to “raise serious concerns” about the article.
  • August 2012: At the American Sociological Association meeting in Denver, various sections of the association call for its Council to commission an amicus brief.
  • October 2, 2012: Brad Wilcox writes “for the record” that he “never served as an officer or a staffer at the Witherspoon Institute, and I never had the authority to make funding or programmatic decisions at the Institute,” and that he was ” not acting in an official Witherspoon capacity” when he worked with Regnerus.
  • November 2012: Social Science Research publishes eight pieces on the controversy, including a statement by editor James Wright, Darren Sherkat’s review of the publication process, and Regnerus’s own response.


  •  January 29, 2013: A group of conservative academics, including Mark Regnerus, submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, concluding, “it remains prudent for government to continue to recognize marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”
  • February 28, 2013: The American Sociological Association releases its amicus brief for the Supreme Court: “Parents’ Sexual Orientation Has No Bearing on Children’s Well-Being.”
  • March 2013: Release of public records from University of Texas related to the New Family Structures Survey. My interpretation is here.
  • March 26, 2013: In oral arguments for Hollingsworth v. Perry, judge Antonin Scalia says there is “considerable disagreement among sociologists as to … the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family”
  • June 26, 2013: U.S. Supreme Court decides U.S. v. Windsor (overturning DOMA) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (overturning California Proposition 8) cases.
  • July 20, 2013: Paul Amato’s statement on his role as a reviewer of the Regnerus paper.
  • August 2, 2013: James Wright, in an email to Inside Higher Ed, discloses that Brad Wilcox was a reviewer of the Regnerus paper.