John M. Becker

Regnerus Testifies in Michigan; University Distances Itself

Filed By John M. Becker | March 04, 2014 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: amendment, constitutional amendment, gay marriage, lawsuit, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Michigan, same-sex marriage

regnerus-angry.jpgYesterday, disgraced "researcher" and sociology professor Mark Regnerus, who thinks same-sex couples make inferior parents, testified in a federal court trial in Michigan that will determine the constitutionality of that state's marriage discrimination amendment.

According to local media reports, Regnerus discussed his roundly-discredited study and claimed that marriage discrimination still serves the state's best interest.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Regnerus testified that until science can prove otherwise, the ideal family structure in America is still a mom and a dad raising kids together.

"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," Regnerus said.

If you're reading the above and thinking that the local Detroit media is incorrectly characterizing Regnerus's research as respectable, you're right. His New Family Structures Study has been roundly denounced by the academic and scientific communities, and it flies in the face of dozens of different studies by dozens of scholars over the past three decades showing that same-sex couples are just as good at parenting as opposite-sex couples.

The University of Texas at Austin, where Regnerus teaches, has been working overtime to distance itself from the disgraced scholar's debunked "research," releasing two statements in the past two weeks. More information after the jump.

On February 21, as interest in Regnerus's "research" intensified in the build-up to the Michigan trial, the UT-Austin College of Liberal Arts released this statement:

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.

Yesterday, as Regnerus was testifying in Detroit, his own colleagues at the University of Texas denounced him. Sociology Department Chair Christine L. Williams said in a 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.

Under questioning yesterday from the state's friendly lawyers, Regnerus conceded that his study looked at just two subjects who were raised from birth by a committed same-sex couple, and that both of them did just fine. Still, he defended his "research" and maintained that Michigan should retain a discriminatory definition of marriage.

Regnerus is being cross-examined by opposing counsel as we speak; the trial is likely to wrap up by Friday. Local reporter Amy Lange is live-tweeting the proceedings; follow along here.

Photo via Joe. My. God.

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