Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Michigan.
The DeBoer v. Snyder
trial phase concludes in District Court.
The acronym "LGBT" used throughout this web site refers
to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.
The acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage.
2014-FEB: Trial before federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman (Cont'd):
Nathaniel Frank, writing for Slate.com commented:
"Regnerus claims to have evaluated outcomes of children 'of same-sex parents” and found results are 'suboptimal” when compared to children reared by their biological parents. The study claims that, unlike other research that relies on smaller samples, 'meaningful statistical inferences and interpretations can be drawn” from his data, and they show that 'the optimal child rearing environment” is one where kids are raised by their biological parents.
The claim sounds reasonable enough. But since Regnerus never actually studied 'children of same-sex parents,' as he claims, his conclusions are equivalent to calling a 747 the fastest plane without ever testing the Concorde. Kids raised in 'planned' same-sex households -- as opposed to kids from divorced families where one parent later came out -- are still statistically rare, and out of his much-ballyhooed sample size of 3,000, Regnerus was unable to find a valid sample of kids who were actually reared by same-sex parents. Instead, all but two — yes, two — came from households originally led by a different-sex couple, usually the kids’ biological parents, that had suffered a family break-up, the one variable that’s most clearly known to raise risks for children. Since the kids in his data set who come from households with what he calls a 'gay' or 'lesbian' parent nearly all come from broken homes, his conclusions merely restated what everyone already knew: that instability raises risks for kids. But since Regnerus refers to these subjects as 'children of same-sex parents,' which he didn’t actually examine, his study is nothing short of dishonest." 1
USA Today reported:
" 'The science in this domain is new ... it is very new. And intellectually, it's frustrating to see social science close off a debate by saying this is settled,' said Regnerus, who urged Michigan to uphold its ban on same-sex marriage. 'The most prudent thing to do is wait ... before making a radical move on marriage.'
During his nearly four-hour-long testimony, Regnerus, who has researched and written studies about family relationships, tried to debunk same-sex parenting studies that say there is no difference between kids raised by same-sex couples and those raised by straight couples.
'To conclude there are no differences — such a study has not been done yet,' said Regnerus, who conceded that 'it's possible that there are a couple lesbian households' that work.
But there's not enough data out there yet 'to make major changes [by allowing same-sex couples to marry],' Regnerus said." 2
The LGBT-positive group Towleroad quoted a statement by the Sociology Department at the University of Texas where Dr. Regnerus is located. It was issued on the same day as Regnerus testimony. The statement said:
"... Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the Sociology Department of The University of Texas at Austin. Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds and that findings from Dr. Regnerus’ work have been cited inappropriately in efforts to diminish the civil rights and legitimacy of LBGTQ partners and their families. We encourage society as a whole to evaluate his claims." 3
Douglas Allen, an economist from Canada, testified on behalf of the state about his metastudy of 60 studies on same-sex families. He concluded that the ban against same-sex marriage should continue because, so far, there:
"... is no evidence on the child outcome issue."
He also said about marriage equality:
"The state should be very cautious in making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental issue. We’re a long way from understanding what the child-outcome results are in a conclusive way." 5
He quoted some data that showed a lower percentage of boys and girls raised by two men or two women graduated from high school when compared with children raised by opposite-sex married parents. His conclusions were probably based on the widely denounced study by Mark Regnerus study at the University of Texas.
In an attempt to determine whether Allen was biased against the LGBT community, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, Ken Mogill, asked Allen:
"Is it accurate that you believe the consequence of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation? In other words, they’re going to hell?"
"Without repentance, yes." 5
2014-MAR-07: The trial in DeBoer v. Snyder concludes:
Attorney Ken Mogill, speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs, said:
"The right to marry is a fundamental right that should apply regardless of sexual orientation."
He also mentioned that the experts who testified in favor of marriage equality conclusively showed that children raised in families led by same-sex parents do as well as those in families led by opposite-sex parents. He said:
"The witnesses are at the top of their fields. They all know what they are talking about and don't try to put a spin on it."
The "spin" comment might be a reference to Dr Regnerus being an evangelical Christian, and that his funding came from an evangelical source.
Attorney Kristin Heyse. speaking on behalf of the state, said:
"It's about science and data. It's about what's best for the children of the state of Michigan."
Judge Friedman expects to issue his ruling on or before 2014-MAR-21. 4
This topic continues in the next essay
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Nathaniel Frank, "The shamelessness of Professor Mark Regnerus," Slate, 2014-MAR-04, at: http://www.slate.com/
- Tresa Baidas, "Mich. gay marriage trial expert: Ideal family mom, dad," USA Today, 2014-MAR-03, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
- Andy Towle, "As Mark Regnerus takes stand in MI gay marriage case, U-Texas calls his study 'fundamentally flawed'," Towleroad, 2014-MAR-04, at: http://www.towleroad.com/
- Corey Williams, "Judge: Gay Marriage Trial Ruling Within 2 Weeks," ABC News, 2014-MAR-07, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
- Tresa Baidas, "Gay marriage testimony ends, state's last witness says unrepentant homosexuals are going to hell," Lansing State Journal. 2014-MAR-06, at: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/
- "No ruling from Judge Friedman today - Find out what happens next," Equality Michigan, 2014-MAR-07, at: http://blog.equalitymi.org/
- Jennifer Dowling, "Gay Marriage Ruling Could Force West Michigan Clerks To Make Tough Decision," Fox 17, 2014-MAR-04, at: http://fox17online.com/
- "Fate of Michigan same-sex marriage ban now rests with federal judge,"Detroit Free Press, 2014-MAR-07, at: http://www.freep.com/
Copyright © by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2014-MAR-08
Latest update: 2014-MAR-10
Author: B.A. Robinson