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| Posted: November 8, 2010

Kinsey Institute Response to Indiana State Rep. Woody Burton's Resolution

This is the text of Indiana State Representative Woody Burton's House Concurrent Resolution as provided to the Bloomington Herald-Times on January 20, 1998, interspersed with the responses of the Kinsey Institute's Director, John Bancroft, M.D., to the resolution and its clauses.

Second Regular Session 110th General Assembly (1998)

House Concurrent Resolution

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION urging the general assembly not to appropriate public funds to support the research of the Kinsey Institute of Indiana University.

Bancroft: Once again the Kinsey Institute is under attack. On January 14th, together with Christopher Simpson, Vice President for Public and Governmental Affairs, I spent one-and-a-half hours talking with the mover of this resolution, Representative Burton, and one of his co-sponsors. An attempt was made to speak also to Senator Waterman, but he was not available. This was our attempt to correct some of the misinformation on which the resolution was based. It became clear that Representative Burton was not aware of the current activities and goals of the Kinsey Institute, and was apparently not interested. In the course of this discussion I was asked whether I believed in evolution or creation as in the Bible, how I would respond to a patient in my clinic who was confused about sexual identity (i.e., did I in any way condone homosexuality). Vice President Simpson was asked if he was aware of any illegal activity at the Kinsey Institute today. By the end of the discussion, we had apparently made little impact.

It appeared that Representative Burton wanted Indiana University to close the Kinsey Institute as a clear statement of the University's disapproval of Kinsey and his work 50 years ago. Whether the Kinsey Institute was doing important and useful work today was apparently irrelevant.

The Kinsey Institute today is carrying out important research into key problems of human sexuality and women's reproductive health, as well as providing specialized clinical care for men and women who have problems with their sexual or reproductive health. It has also collected a substantial body of materials of importance to scholars studying human sexuality from many disciplinary perspectives. The Kinsey Institute is regarded world wide as a leader in promoting interdisciplinary scholarship the field of human sexuality, which now possibly more than ever before, is badly needed.

We urge those who disapprove of this political use of misinformation, or who value and support the work of the Kinsey Institute today, to respond to their members of the legislature accordingly.

These are my responses to the clauses in the resolution. These refutations, in one form or another, have been made repeatedly by the Kinsey Institute and Indiana University.

Whereas, The research of Alfred Kinsey, the founder of the Kinsey Institute of Indiana University, was partially based upon data derived from sexual deviants, sex criminals, and children;

Bancroft: The large majority of the 18,000 interviews carried out in Kinsey's research involved ordinary men and women. Kinsey was also interested in researching less common types of sexual behavior. After his death a book was published based on the interviews with sex offenders. He had intended to publish a book on homosexuality but that was never done, although later important studies on homosexuality were carried out by the Institute. Kinsey had also hoped to complete a study based on his interviews with small children, carried out in the presence of their parents, using conventional methods for that age group. Again he did not live long enough to complete that task. All of these objectives were appropriate and important. He was not involved in any form of sexual experimentation involving children, nor were any of his colleagues at the Institute. I do not understand what this clause conveys that is in any way problematic.

Whereas, Today's Kinsey Institute stands behind the research conducted 50 years ago by Alfred Kinsey and promotes Kinsey's ideology that all sexual contacts are legitimate;

Bancroft: Kinsey was a pioneer in an important but controversial field. Inevitably, given the paucity of research that had preceded him, he made mistakes in method and in some cases in interpretation. He can be criticized for making use of information about children's sexual responses obtained from individuals who were criminally involved with those children, not because it was improper to do so, but because of the uncertain validity of such information. But the large part of his work remains a supreme example of dedicated scientific research which continues to be important and useful to all of those who are researching in the field. In that sense the first part of this clause is correct. The second part is not correct; Kinsey did not believe that all sexual contacts are legitimate, he did not have an "ideology," but was committed to presenting factual evidence, and the Kinsey Institute today in no way promotes the idea that "all sexual contacts are legitimate."

Whereas, Research employing criminal acts to obtain data in the name of science, especially sex crimes against children, should be denounced; and

Bancroft: I have no problem with this clause, except that it does not apply to Kinsey or the Kinsey Institute at any time in its fifty-year history. Kinsey did not employ criminal acts, against children or any one else, in his research. Talking to criminals about their experiences and observations is a different matter.

Whereas, No public funds should be used to operate or support institutions that further the claims made by Alfred Kinsey's research; Therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives
of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana,
the Senate concurring:

SECTION 1. That on the 50th anniversary of the Kinsey Institute, it is incumbent upon the Kinsey Institute to fully disclose all of the following information or statements to the publics, whose funds are being used to support the Institute:

Bancroft: As far as the specific questions to be answered are concerned:
  1. The history and sources of all public funding.
    This information is public knowledge anyway and is not problematic.
  2. The research design or protocol for experiments on minors, if applicable.
    There were no research designs or protocols for experiments on minors, and never have been.
  3. The experimental methods used by Alfred Kinsey and colleagues.
    The only research method used by Kinsey was the interview.
  4. The experimental subjects who were minors, identified by gender, age, and location of experimentation.
    There were no experimental subjects who were minors. There is no information available about the minors who had been involved with the criminals interviewed.
  5. The training materials for research on minors and adults.
    The basis of the interview methods used with both adults and minors is given in the Kinsey volumes.
  6. All documents giving consent for sexual experimentation on minors or wards.
    As there was no such experimentation, there can be no documents consenting to it.
[Controversy Over Alfred Kinsey's Research].

The Kinsey Institute - Response to Controversy - Burton [About the Institute]
Retrieved: November 8, 2010