IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Gay-Marriage Study Author Admits to Lies, Science Journal Says

The journal Science has now formally retracted the study that said a person's view on gay-marriage could be changed by a short conversation.
Image: Early results suggest gay marriage supporters win Irish referendum
Monnine Griffith, left, and Clodagh Robinson celebrate after early results suggest an overwhelming majority in favour of the referendum on same-sex marriage, at the Dublin City Count Centre, Ireland on May 23, 2015. AIDAN CRAWLEY / EPA

The journal Science has formally pulled a widely reported study on changing attitudes toward gay marriage, saying a lawyer for one of the co-authors had admitted it contained lies.

Michael LaCour, the UCLA grad student accused of faking the data, did not agree to the retraction even though his attorney conceded there were false statements in the study, the journal said.

In a statement before the retraction, LaCour said he stood by the overall findings of the research and would respond to the allegations by Friday.

The study reported that people's views on same-sex marriage could be changed by short one-on-one conversations with gay canvassers.

It came under scrutiny after a Stanford University research team tried and failed to replicate the findings and tipped off the lead author, Donald Green, to the irregularities. They said the firm LaCour supposedly hired to carry out the field work didn't know anything about the project.

Green said that when LaCour was confronted, he refused to turn over contact information for the survey respondents and claimed the raw data had been accidentally deleted.

Since then, LaCour's lawyer has confirmed two false statements in the published study: that survey respondents were given cash incentives to participate, and that funding was provided by a number of well-known non-profits.

"In addition to these known problems, independent researchers have noted certain statistical irregularities in the responses," Science said. "LaCour has not produced the original survey data from which someone else could independently confirm the validity of the reported findings."