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As Mark Regnerus Takes Stand in MI Gay Marriage Case, U-Texas Calls His Study 'Fundamentally Flawed'

Mark Regnerus, the UT researcher, whose rightwing-funded, biased parenting studies have been thoroughly discredited and debunked, took the stand yesterday for the defendants in the trial challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage and gay adoption.

The AP reports: Regnerus

“We aren’t anywhere near saying there’s conclusive evidence” that children with same-sex parents grow up with no differences when compared to kids with heterosexual parents, he said.

“Until we get more evidence, we should be skeptical. … It’s prudent for the state to retain its definition of marriage to one man, one woman,” said Regnerus, who believes that’s the best scenario for kids.

He’ll be cross-examined Tuesday.

But even as he took the stand, the Sociology Department at the University of Texas, where Regnerus is employed, blasted his work as "fundamentally flawed" and distanced themselves from Regnerus' toxic views, issuing this statement:

Like all faculty, Dr. Regnerus has the right to pursue his areas of research and express his point of view.  However, 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.
 
The Sociology Department at The University of Texas at Austin aspires to achieve academic excellence in research, teaching, and public service at the highest level in our discipline. We strive to do so in a context that is based on the highest ethical standards of our discipline and in a context that actively promotes and supports diversity among our faculty and student populations.
 
The Sociology Department resides in the College of Liberal Arts, which has issued a statement regarding Dr. Regnerus.
 
The Sociology Department has no affiliation with the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

Defendants' testimony in the Michigan trial had a rough start already yesterday after a judge barred the state's first witness from the stand, saying Sherif Girgis had nothing to offer:

“He’s very eloquent … but right now, all he is offering to us is mainly his opinions,” U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said of the witness. “The court does not believe ... that he should be allowed to testify.”


Judge Bars Michigan's First Witness in Gay Marriage Ban Challenge: Nothing to Offer

A federal judge in Michigan rejected the state's first witness in the two week trial challenging the ban on gay marriage and gay adoption, the Detroit Free Press reports:

Girgis“He’s very eloquent … but right now, all he is offering to us is mainly his opinions,” U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said of the witness. “The court does not believe ... that he should be allowed to testify.”

This came as a blow to the state in the case, in which two female nurses are seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage so that they can marry and adopt each others’ children.

The state had planned on having its first witness – Sherif Girgis – on the stand for up to two hours. Prior to getting dismissed, Girgis spent about 20 minutes on the stand listing his credentials, most of which included lecturing and writing academic papers on the philosophical debate surrounding the definition of marriage. He also has written a book, “What is Marriage, Man & Woman in Defense.”

But Friedman dismissed the witness following arguments from the plaintiffs side, who noted that Girgis is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case, the plaintiffs argued.

Wow.

Mark Regnerus, the UT researcher, whose rightwing-funded, flawed and biased parenting studies have been thoroughly discredited, is supposedly up next and the trial is to resume at 1 pm.


Michigan Pastors Hold Press Conference Blasting Gay Marriage Ahead of Court Challenge: VIDEO

Pastors

A coalition of approximately 50 Michigan pastors held a press conference on Monday blasting same-sex marriage ahead of today's trial challenging the state's ban on gay marriage and gay adoption, the Detroit Free Press reports:

Quoting from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Bible, the pastors said that gay marriage violates the teachings of Christianity. Swimp quoted from King’s famous letter ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ to say that “we have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” that don’t conform the law of God. The majority of pastors at the press conference were African-American.

“It’s going to tear the foundation of the family asunder,” Pastor Caldwell said of gay marriage. “It’s going to have a devastating effect.”

“We ... stand by both our Michigan Constitution and our Judeo-Christian values,” said Pastor Lennell Caldwell of First Baptist World Changers. “We believe that marriage between one man and one woman creates the best possible environment for the health and wellness of children ... no one is entitled to redefine marriage.”

The pastors said their coalition represents Baptist, Church of God in Christ (COGCI), Pentecostal, and Catholic denominations.

Watch a WJBK report on the presser, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michigan Pastors Hold Press Conference Blasting Gay Marriage Ahead of Court Challenge: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Parenting Quack to Take Center Stage as Trial Over Michigan Ban on Gay Marriage, Adoption Begins

Back in September 2012 Towleroad posted about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, who expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment. In March 2013 we reported that Federal Judge Bernard Friedman stayed his decision in the matter until after the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA. And last July, Friedman ruled that the couple could proceed with their challenge.

LmcThat challenge goes before a U.S. District Court in Detroit this morning:

If Friedman overturns the ban on gay marriage and same-sex adoption, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who also is named as a defendant in the federal lawsuit, is expected to immediately appeal the decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, where a similar Ohio case is under appeal.

In September, Schuette filed a brief in the case, stating that “one of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan — and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman — is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.”

One element in this trial that will be different from trial's we've seen in the past is the parenting aspect, and defendants of Michigan's ban have an arsenal of biased experts and flawed studies they plan to use, including discredited anti-gay UT researcher Mark Regnerus.

RegnerusIn June, Regnerus published what LGBT groups called, in a mass statement, a "flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound paper that seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents". The study on its face appeared to overturn three decades of research into families with same-sex parents and has been cited again and again by hateful right-wing groups despite the fact that the claims contained in it have been thoroughly debunked.

The NYT notes that "the last time these issues were debated in a federal court, in California nearly four years ago, social science opponents of same-sex marriage underwent withering challenges in pretrial depositions and did not even appear in court."

This time, it's different:

In meetings hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington in late 2010, opponents of same-sex marriage discussed the urgent need to generate new studies on family structures and children, according to recent pretrial depositions of two witnesses in the Michigan trial and other participants. One result was the marshaling of $785,000 for a large-scale study by Mark Regnerus, a meeting participant and a sociologist at the University of Texas who will testify in Michigan.

...

This time, four social science researchers, all of whom attended at least one of the Heritage Foundation meetings and went on to publish new reports, are scheduled to testify in favor of Michigan’s ban.

The most prominent is Dr. Regnerus. His study, published in 2012, was condemned by leading social scientists as misleading and irrelevant, but some conservatives call it the best of its kind and continue to cite it in speeches and court cases.

Let's hope DeBoer and Rowse's lawyers are ready and waiting.


Russia Expands Adoption Ban to Include All Unmarried Couples in Countries with Gay Marriage

In a decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today, the Russian government announced it would be expanding its existing ban on the adoption of Russian children to now include unmarried citizens in any country where same-sex marriage is legal. Back in July, the Russian Duma (with the help of NOM’s Brian Brown) passed a law banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples.

The Moscow Times has more on the policy change:Yelena

Lawmakers including State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina [pictured], who supported the "gay propaganda" law and is head of the Duma's Committee for Family, Women and Children, earlier called for July's law to be expanded, arguing that children taken in by heterosexual parents could later be transferred to gay parents.

The changes to the adoption law also decrease the official time period for considering applications made by prospective parents from 15 to 10 days and eliminate the need for paperwork confirming that the sanitary conditions of the child's new home are up to standard.

Well at least there’s that…

 


Denial of ‘Second Parent’ Adoption Puts Same-Sex Couples Parental Rights in Jeopardy

BY RICHARD VAUGHN and ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Earlier this month, in a ruling that rocked the worlds of same-sex couples and attorneys alike, a Brooklyn court denied the non-biological mother of a child born to a married lesbian couple the right to legally adopt her child.

VaughnThis seemingly arcane quadrant of family law matters because this process of adoption has, traditionally, been the only legal tool protecting gay families when they travel to marriage discrimination states. A biological parent has parental rights, obviously. But her non-married cohabitant, which is how marriage discrimination states look at same-sex spouses, is not considered a parent. She is considered a stranger even though she helps feed, raise, and care for the child.

But in a world of marriage equality, this form of adoption seems unnecessary. Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court Judge Margarita López Torres reasoned that New York recognizes the couple’s marriage and the names of both mothers appear on the child’s birth certificate. Thus, the judge wrote in her decision, the non-biological mother is already the legal parent of her child.

The “purpose and effect" of adoption is “…to create a new legal relationship where one did not previously exist. Adoption is not utilized for, nor…is it available to reaffirm, an already existing parent/child relationship.”

That makes sense. But, as we discuss below, the decision represents ideals over reality and endangers families run by same-sex couples.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Denial of ‘Second Parent’ Adoption Puts Same-Sex Couples Parental Rights in Jeopardy" »


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