Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing

Moments ago, Michigan Federal Judge Friedman found the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional. While the ruling itself is a historic moment for the Great Lakes region, it is equally significant that Judge Friedman, a Reagan appointee, spoke out against UT Austin sociologist Mark Regnerus.

In his ruling, Judge Friedman recognizes “New Family Structures Study,” a research project conceived and mostly funded by the conservative Witherspoon Institute, as a horrendous piece of anti-LGBT propaganda.

He wrote:

"The Court finds Regnerus's testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 'study' was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it 'essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society' and which 'was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.' ... While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged." 

The 2012 study alleges that children raised by same-sex parents are more likely to attempt suicide and experience sexual abuse than children raised by a married mother and father.  In reality, the “New Family Structures Study” never measured the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples.  

Since the study’s publication in 2012, fellow social scientists, scholars and the American Sociological Association have rejected Mark Regnerus’s biased work. In March, UT Austin denounced his research as “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.”  

For too long, this debunk study has influenced legislation and legal decisions in the U.S. and abroad.

With today’s bold statements, Judge Friedman has helped to end the cycle. Read his complete remarks here.

And to learn more about the Regnerus study, visit

Filed under: Marriage, Parenting, Community, Media

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