Gay Marriage | Mark Regnerus | News | Utah

Utah Distances Itself from Anti-Gay Activist Research Mark Regnerus in 10th Circuit Letter


The State of Utah filed a letter to the Tenth Circuit court yesterday ahead of today's hearing on the Utah gay marriage ban distancing itself from discredited UT research Mark Regneres and his flawed parenting study which was recently cited to disastrous results in the Michigan gay marriage case.

Says the letter: Regnerus

Utah files this supplemental letter in response to recent press reports and analysis of the study by Professor Mark Regnerus, which the State cited at footnotes 34 and 42 of its Opening Brief, and which addresses the debate over whether same-sex parenting produces child outcomes that are comparable to man-woman parenting.

First, we wish to emphasize the very limited relevance to this case of the comparison addressed by Professor Regnerus. As the State’s briefing makes clear, the State’s principal concern is the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents. The debate over man-woman versus same-sex parenting has little if any bearing on that issue, given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents.

Second, on the limited issue addressed by the Regnerus study, the State wishes to be clear about what that study (in the State’s view) does and does not establish. The Regnerus study did not examine as its sole focus the outcomes of children raised in same-sex households but, because of sample limitations inherent in the field of study at this point, examined primarily children who acknowledged having a parent who had engaged in a same-sex relationship. Thus, the Regnerus study cannot be viewed as conclusively establishing that raising a child in a same-sex household produces outcomes that are inferior to those produced by man-woman parenting arrangements.

Think Progress notes:

During the district court trial, Utah cited Regnerus to suggest that the debate on same-sex parenting was inconclusive and thus should not be trusted. Judge Robert Shelby dismissed that argument, making essentially the same point Utah concedes in this letter: promoting parenting by different-sex couples has no connection to banning same-sex couples from marrying.

In appeals briefs, Utah officials have indeed focused more on different-sex parenting. For example, they have argued that banning same-sex marriage promotes “diversity” in parenting and helps protect birth rates from declining. Still, they have also continued to argue that same-sex parenting would be a threat to children’s well-being.

By focusing so much on the state’s “powerful interest in parenting by heterosexuals,” Utah’s briefings have actually attempted to paint heterosexuality as superior instead of homosexuality as inferior — arguably, a distinction without a difference.

Here is some excellent background if you want a preview of today's Utah hearing.

Ari Ezra Waldman: What To Watch For in Today's Tenth Circuit Court Marriage Hearing on the Utah Gay Marriage Ban; and,

Lisa Keen: Tenth Circuit to Hear Challenge to Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Tomorrow: A Preview of the Players

Watch a preview of the suit from the AP, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. They're distancing themselves from Regnerus to make an even more stupid argument.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 10, 2014 10:18:24 AM

  2. The haters who bought and paid for Regnerus' propaganda piece must be having a bad case of buyer's remorse. We should encourage all wingnuts to waste their money on such spectacular failures so they'll have less to spend buying elections.

    And I'm delighted my alma mater, the University of Texas, got a bloody nose in the process. Maybe they'll stick to academics and football now and leave their jackboots in the closet.

    Posted by: Hansel Currywurst | Apr 10, 2014 10:53:06 AM

  3. "For example, they have argued that banning same-sex marriage promotes “diversity” in parenting and helps protect birth rates from declining."

    For the same reasons it could be argued that banning same-race marriage or same-language marriage promotes diversity. A kid with a Japanese parent who speaks to the kid in Japanese and a Swedish patent speaking to the kid in Swedish is likely to experience more diversity that two boring ol' white, American English-speaking parents.
    But obviously having a diverse community does not mean the state mandates that every family have exactly the "SAME" differences.

    Regarding birth rates: Do we need to "protect" them from declining? Anyone paying attention to the world's exploding population and rapidly-declining resources should know that anything we can do to gradually REDUCE the world's population would be the the most important thing we could possibly do for the long-term survival of ALL species (including our own) and the planet. If "banning" anyone's marriage actually had that effect (it doesn't) it would be mixed-sex marriages that would be banned to help the planet out.

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 10, 2014 11:04:06 AM

  4. @Hansel: As a fellow UT-alum, just want to point out that UT-Austin has been under budgetary and operational siege for more than a decade from a Republican-dominated (and anti-higher education-minded) legislature; and 12 dark years of Rick Perry governorship, in particular Perry's ultra-conservative nominations to the Board of Regents, who have been particularly destructive to UT's administration.

    In that climate the statements put out by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Sociology disavowing Regnerus' study were about as forceful as they could have been.

    Posted by: Bevo Wept | Apr 10, 2014 11:36:52 AM

  5. @GREGV What the Mormons and other American christian groups complain about when referencing the "declining birth rate" is that the birth rate among northern European, Anglo-Saxons (aka as white people) is declining. That just gives them all nightmares.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Apr 10, 2014 12:33:27 PM

  6. More importantly, even if the Regnerus study had any sociological validity, it doesn't enunciate any legal principle. Let's assume that there is an optimal form of marriage, and other sub-optimal forms. The law does not in general prohibit the sub-optimal forms. Child abusers can marry, people on death row can marry, heroin addicts can marry. Even if the study is true, it's irrelevant.

    Posted by: RobNYNY1957 | Apr 10, 2014 12:33:51 PM

  7. This was one of my many LOL moments so far today. The right wing gets more desperate,deranged & deluded by the day. No wonder they keep losing in court cases all over the USA. The right wing nut cases keep driving people to the moderate/left/Democrat faction.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 10, 2014 12:36:33 PM

  8. @BEVO -- The repugs don't see it (because it doesn't involve the NCAA) but they're on a path leading to loss of accreditation for departments and then whole colleges at UT; and probably beyond the Austin campus, though I don't keep-up enough to say. That may be their plan, though, because if they can't inflict their version of society on the world from "their" Sociology department then why fund it? And Liberal Arts is obviously full of liberals so who wants a whole college of that?

    I think I'll take a continuing education course at Rice so I can tell people I went there instead.

    Posted by: Hansel Currywurst | Apr 10, 2014 1:01:02 PM

  9. Hetero Supremacy making itself more and more clear to the dimmest thinkers.

    Posted by: Bulb | Apr 10, 2014 8:29:12 PM

Post a comment


« «'We Don't Have Time To Wait' Says 78-Year-Old Plaintiff in New NC Marriage Lawsuit« «