Update: Attorney General Bill Schuette's Case Against Gay Marriage Is Crumbling

March 04, 2014, 3:13 PM

Update, 8:56 p.m.: "The Shamelessness of Professor Mark Regnerus," an article in Slate by Nathaniel Frank, discusses in detail Regnerus' controversial research, its financial support and its impact on children. "As Regnerus and his colleagues parade their pseudoscience before the court and the world, the most harrowing part is fathoming the pain that children with gay parents must feel at hearing a constant barrage of denigrating words against their families. This, above all, is nothing less than shameless," Frank writes.  

Earlier: For the second day Tuesday, the state of Michigan's case in U.S. District Court in Detroit against gay-marriage adoption suffered a setback when the university that employs the state's expert witness issued a statement that basically disowned his scholarship.

As Tresa Baldas reports in the Free Press:

The Sociology Department of the University of Texas issued this statement Monday about sociologist Mark Regnerus, who believes traditional marriage should be upheld in Michigan because, he says, kids thrive best in that setting.

“Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the Sociology Department… Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of same-sex 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 LBGT partners and their families. We encourage society as a whole to evaluate his claims.”

Regnerus is the state’s first witness to testify in a case in which two lesbian nurses are seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage so that they can marry and adopt each others’ children.

On Monday, the state's first scheduled witness was barred by Judge Bernard Friedman from testifying. Friedman said the young scholar did not possess the qualifications to be an expert.

The scholar, Sherif Girgis, is simultaneously studying for a law degree at Yale and a doctorate in philosophy in Princeton. He has written about the history of marriage, but Friedman agreed with the plaintiffs' attorneys that Girgis is not yet an expert in his field and would be doing little more than speaking about his opinions.

The state is counting on Regnerus, Baldas writes, to bolster its argument that traditional marriage in Michigan should remain intact, just as voters decided in 2004, when they defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has insisted on defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage despite federal judges in numerous states striking down laws banning gay marriage in the past several months.

Brian Dickerson wrote recently in the Free Press that Scuette has become an outlier when it comes to gay marriage, whose time appears to have come across the nation:

Facing similar legal challenges, attorneys general in other states have been reluctant to defend state bans like Michigan’s. Many legal scholars believe such prohibitions are constitutionally doomed in the wake of the 5-4 ruling that U.S. Supreme Court justices issued last June in Windsor v. United States. The landmark Windsor ruling struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages even if they were consecrated in one of the states that explicitly authorizes them.

Schuette contends that the Windsor ruling protects every state’s right to decide for itself who can marry within its borders. But that argument represents a willful indifference to the essence of Windsor, in which a majority of justices concluded that the primary (and constitutionally forbidden) purpose of DOMA was “to impose inequality” on gay citizens for no legitimate government purpose.

To defend Michigan’s untenable discrimination against gay people, Schuette has been reduced to arguing that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage serves the legitimate governmental purpose of promoting “responsible procreation.”

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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