A prestigious science journal has retracted a published study that found opponents of same-sex marriage could have their opinions changed by a brief encounter with a gay canvasser, because the journal and one of the study's co-authors allege the study's data was faked, Retraction Watch reports.
The study, "When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality," was done by UCLA graduate student and PhD candidate Michael LaCour, with the sponsorship backup of highly respected Columbia University political science professor Donald Green. Green said LaCour had admitted falsifying some of the data and the source of financing for the study.
Green wrote to Science, "I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science," in a letter requesting the retraction, Retraction Watch reports.
LaCour told Politico he was "gathering evidence and relevant information so I can provide a single comprehensive response. I will do so at my earliest opportunity."
LaCour's work was done in cooperation with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The problems with LaCour's study came to light when Joshua Kalla, a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, and others tried to extend the study's methods to a study of transgender equality in Florida, the New York Times reported, and could not replicate his results.