13 responses

  1. grantdale
    March 21, 2014

    Thanks for putting this up Jim — it’s a full but economically worded ruling that is a delight to read, and should sustain itself under (any) appeal.

    Friedman certainly gave Regnerus, Marks, Price and Allen both barrels at once; and did not muck around with them or the nonsense they have produced. Those ‘studies’ are toast, as are their professional reputations, for any future appearances. Jolly good show. Next.

    (The “rich, educated, suburban-dwelling, married Asians” statement had me snort out loud.)

  2. Richard Rush
    March 21, 2014

    While the refuting of Regnerus (and others) is, of course, absolutely necessary, I find it thoroughly disgusting that we are the only class of people in America forced to defend our fitness to be parents as a condition for being allowed to marry. And that’s why I’m pleased that you included a block-quote of my favorite paragraph which begins and ends with:

    “[T]he state defendants’ position suffers from a glaring inconsistency. . . Optimal academic outcomes for children cannot logically dictate which groups may marry.”

  3. Ben In Oakland
    March 21, 2014

    That slapping sound you may here is Regnerus receiving a judicial slap across his professional career.

  4. Mark Oliver
    March 21, 2014

    The DeBoer v. Snyder ruling is being a great read (legalese does not inherently HAVE TO BE dull). Bernard Friedman: yet another feather in Ronald Reagan’s cap. It is striking that a state’s ban on gay marriage would be struck down in a case which was not originally brought in opposition to that ban.

    Two questions for anyone who cares to answer:

    1) Did an attorney for the state remark in court that plaintiffs Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are, in fact, good parents?

    2) Was Michigan’s trial presentation intentionally lame, or was it merely inherently and necessarily lame?

    If a state puts forward an “expert witness” (Douglas Allen) who avers that insufficiently repentant gays will go to hell, is that intended/expected to help one’s own case, or is it intended/expected to hurt one’s own case?

    Considering who the Michigan Attorney General is, I guess I’ve answered my own question.

    If the state’s first expert witness is disqualified and not allowed to testify by virtue of his not being an expert, that testifies not merely to the incompetence of the witness but to the incompetence of the state as well. Then they want to portray Mark Regnerus (of all people) as a ‘researcher’ and (putative) ‘expert witness’. And all this was intended to impress the court? Well, they DID impress the court, all right. Michigan might as well have brought in Michele Bachmann as an ‘expert’. (Can’t see how that would have been any worse.)

    Although I have no sympathy for Bill Schuette whatsoever, I still find it disturbing to think that a state can’t do a better job than this (your tax dollars at work and that sort of thing). Something is very, very wrong with a state’s AG office when a GOOD day in court is a day when the court doesn’t allow the state’s witnesses to testify. (I almost feel sorry for them.)

    Seems a pity that Schuette didn’t stick with the Foreign Service after Georgetown. [And San Francisco seems an odd place for someone of his, uh, persuasion to attend law school.]

    BTW – Was anyone else mystified by the ruling’s phraseology (on page 23) to the effect that [as per the state] only “married Asians may marry”? At any rate, it is refreshing to see argumentum ad absurdum being put to good use in one of these cases.

    It is a sad thing that the AG of any state must be reminded of the fact that “laws defining and regulating marriage, of course, must respect the constitutional rights of persons”: what a concept! All Americans are owed substantive due process and equal protection under the law. As Judge Friedman (such a scold) observes, “these statements are not merely surplusage”. Got to love it!

  5. ebohlman
    March 21, 2014

    The “only married Asians” bit was a direct quote from one of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses (I forget whom).

  6. Robert
    March 21, 2014

    I was heartened by the solid reasoning of Judge Friedman. Regnerus, whom I believe is tenured, received appropriate censure from the judge as his work is shoddy, it seems transparently so.

    I had not thought of the absurdity of requiring optimum outcomes for children as a condition of marriage. It is going to be tough for the state’s argument to stand up in appellate courts.

  7. grantdale
    March 21, 2014

    @ebohlman: it was Stanford University sociology professor Michael Rosenfeld.

  8. FYoung
    March 21, 2014

    By the way, clerks offices will be opening tomorrow (Saturday) in at least three counties in Michigan to issue marriage licenses.


  9. Hue-Man
    March 22, 2014

    For those with short memories, Michigan’s AG office produced this unbelievable story (updated to Nov 2013). File under smoke/fire.

    [Former state assistant attorney general Andrew] “Shirvell engaged in a one-man, anti-gay campaign against former University of Michigan Student Body President Chris Armstrong.

    The then state employee would show up at public events to condemn what he called Armstrong’s ‘radical homosexual agenda.’

    Shirvell also appeared at the student’s home three times – including once at 1.30am, harassed Armstrong’s friends as they were socializing, tried to get him fired from his job and posted online attacks about the student.” http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lawyer-who-harassed-gay-university-michigan-student-suing-his-old-job091113

  10. John
    March 22, 2014

    @Mark Oliver, both the state and defendants stipulated that the DeBoer-Rowses were good parents. (They had each been allowed to adopt children in Michigan; they wanted to be able to adopt jointly the children they adopted singly.) So, the trial had nothing to do with their individual partenting skills.

    Given the attorney general and his office, I suspect they really thought they put on a good case. It was all they had.

    The reference to Asian parents was an allusion to Professor Rosenfeld’s critique of Regnerus and to a line of questioning of Regnerus under cross-examination. The attorney asked Regnerus if he was aware that lower income people as a group have poorer parenting skills than higher income people, and so on. The point was that we do not subject groups or individuals to parenting tests in order to get a marriage license in the U.S. But if we did, perhaps the only demographic that would pass would be married Asians, whose children tend to do well on academic achievement. (One of the measures Regnerus and Allen used to disparage the parenting skills of gay men and lesbians was that supposedly their children had less successful outcomes in terms of high school graduation.)

  11. Bose in St. Peter MN
    March 22, 2014

    It’s a credit to your leading-edge work from day zero, Jim, that this ruling decimates Regnerus’ standing as a researcher so unequivocally. I still remember reading your first coverage of the NFSS, dumbfounded and outraged that it had made its way into print in an otherwise credible journal. It’s sweet to see your analysis basically replicated in federal court rulings.

  12. Richard Rush
    March 22, 2014

    Has anyone seen an anti-gay website with a link to a written court decision that has been in our favor? Me neither. They wouldn’t want to expose their followers to the dangerous consequences of rational thought.

  13. Nathaniel
    March 25, 2014

    In response to the quality of the state’s defense, it is possible that other “experts” were requested but they refused to even subject their credentials to such scrutiny. Too many of them make money being “experts” in the media and in their very narrow-minded organizations to risk loosing all that because they are barred from court as being insufficiently expert.

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