HRC Blog

Mark Regnerus Takes the Stand in Michigan Marriage Equality Trial

Mark Regnerus, who published a roundly discredited anti-gay parenting study in 2012, took the stand today in the federal trial challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Regnerus’ testimony draws largely from his study, which was plagued by flawed methodology and numerous conflicts of interest, and alleges that children of same-sex couples experience more adverse outcomes than children raised by opposite-sex parents. The American Sociological Association and hundreds of Regnerus’ fellow scholars were quick to dismantle the report because of its glaring flaws.

As a result of the numerous conflicts of interest and flaws surrounding the study, the plaintiffs in the Michigan case had previously asked for Regnerus to be barred from testifying as an expert witness. 

“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,” said HRC's Ellen Kahn. “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.

 

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