A Voluntary Bar Association of the Florida Bar
- To establish and maintain an integrated group to support, assist, and encourage gay and lesbian attorneys, legal professionals, and law students, and
- To provide support and resources to the community at large on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) issues.
CFGALLA Statement Regarding the Release of Documents Ordered in
Becker v. University of Central Florida Board of Trustees
The Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association (CFGALLA) strongly supports the concept of the American classroom as a free marketplace of ideas, an idea espoused by the U.S. Supreme Court in Keyishian v. Board of Regents of Univ. of State of N.Y., 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967), wherein learning is had through the open exchange of dialogue concerning the participants’ knowledge and beliefs. In that vein, CFGALLA encourages the sort of scholarly research which is routinely undertaken by academic institutions like the University of Central Florida (UCF). A free marketplace of ideas, however, necessarily implies that those ideas will be permitted to flow amongst the participants without interference by the very operator of that marketplace. UCF’s apparent attempt to prevent the dissemination of email messages and documents in its possession related to the peer-review process behind the Regnerus study went beyond providing a forum in which ideas could be exchanged to controlling the discussion. A recent ruling in the Orange County Circuit Court recognized the email messages and documents for what they were – public records which belong in the public domain.*
The Regnerus study, published in the June 2012 edition of UCF’s Social Science Research Journal, concluded that children are less likely to thrive when raised by gay and lesbian parents than when raised by straight parents. The Regnerus study’s conclusion flies in the face of more than thirty (30) years of social science research, and it has been widely criticized as flawed and biased. At the same time, the study is being touted as science by anti-gay organizations around the world and has been cited in arguing for anti-gay legislation in other countries. In ordering that the email messages and documents in UCF’s possession be turned over pursuant to a valid Public Records Act request, the court has helped to ensure that the public will learn more about the peer review process behind the Regnerus study. In this way, perhaps we will learn how bias and animus could find its way into an academic journal.
Matthew P. Tabakman, Esq.
Public Relations Director, CFGALLA
November 14, 2013
*Becker v. University of Central Florida Board of Trustees, 2013-CA-005265-O (Fla. Cir. Ct., 11/8/2013).