Mark Regnerus, the man whose name seems to have become synonymous with bad research, was allowed to deliver testimony in federal court today in a case that will decide the fate of same-sex marriage in Michigan. Many wondered if Judge Bernard Friedman, who barred one “expert” witness from testifying earlier in the day, would allow Regnerus, whose own work has been discredited, to testify. The case, Deboer v. Snyder, involves two nurses, Jayne and April DeBoer-Rowse, who wish to marry and jointly-adopt their three adopted children.
Friedman did, and Regnerus, according to many tweets and reports of journalists in the courtroom, told the judge that there’s just no conclusive evidence that there’s no difference between same-sex and different-sex parents raising children, and that “the most prudent thing to do is wait and evaluate some of these changes over time before making any radical moves around marriage.”
HRC’s Ellen Kahn issued a statement saying that “Mark Regnerus’ testimony today in this trial is, in many ways, a culmination of exactly what the anti-gay funders of his work intended when they conceived the New Family Structures study. Make no mistake about it – Regnerus is not offering valid, scientific data. In fact, his study is a clear outlier among 30 years worth of social science that suggest children thrive equally well in two parent households, regardless of the genders of their parents. He is simply carrying out the harmful rhetoric of organizations that seek to demonize LGBT people and their families.”
According to reports from the courtroom today, provided by the Detroit Free Press, Regnerus again stated that he believed marriage was between one man and one woman. He also admitted that the report’s chief funder, the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, wanted the study completed before the U.S. Supreme Court took up marriage equality. That’s a reference to a remark from Witherspoon President Luiz Tellez. That exchange, as well as many other examples of the conflicts of interest surrounding the report, is available at HRC’s Regnerus Fallout website. Through the Regnerus Fallout site, HRC continues to track the study’s funding and flaws, as well as calling out where it is cited in new court cases around the country.
Meanwhile, apparently in response to Regnerus begin accepted as a witness and to the testimony he delivered, Regnerus’ own university issued a statement distancing itself from his work.
The University of Texas at Austin and the College of Liberal Arts issued a statement saying “Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the university. Like all faculty, he has the right to pursue his areas of research and express his point of view. We encourage the community of scholars and society as a whole to evaluate his claims.”
And if that weren’t sufficient, the Chairman of the University of Texas at Austin’s Sociology Department issued a statement today denouncing Regnerus’ work.
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.
So much for being an “expert witness.”
Image via Jayne Rowse’s Facebook Page
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