In striking down the Michigan law against marriage equality, US District Judge Bernard Freeman actually handed the lgbt community two victories. First, from ABC News:
Michigan’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge said Friday as he struck down a law that was widely embraced by voters a decade ago — the latest in a recent series of decisions overturning similar prohibitions across the country. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman released his 31-page ruling exactly two weeks after a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.He noted that supporters of same-sex marriage believe the Michigan ban was at least partly the result of animosity toward gays and lesbians. “Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage,” Friedman said. “Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law.” The decision was filed shortly after 5 p.m. in Detroit, when most county clerk offices were closed. Clerks issue marriage licenses in Michigan. Attorney General Bill Schuette said he would immediately ask a federal appeals court to freeze Friedman’s decision and prevent same-sex couples from marrying while he appeals the case.
Now comes the part which has us wonky lgbts doing the “tootsie roll” while reading our twitter feeds. You will remember that during this trial, University of Texas (Austin) professor Mark Regnerus served as an “expert witness” for the state of Michigan.
Two years ago, Regnerus published a study which said children suffer from living in same-sex households. The study was funded to the tune over $700,000 by groups working against marriage equality such as the Witherspoon Institute. When it was published, it was quickly criticized and discredited by several researchers and sociologists. Over 200 professors and therapists all signed a letter condemning the study’s publication and methodology. A day before his testimony in Michigan this year, Regnerus’s own university renounced the study.
“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 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary stay on the decision which is good until Wednesday. Nevertheless, not only did the lgbt community get a present victory in Michigan, we also get ownership over the Sword of Damocles which hangs over the head of Mark Regnerus and his study should anyone else attempt to use it in other cases in attempts to deny us marriage equality.
I personally say don’t wait. The purpose of Regnerus’s study was not to prove truth, but to propagandize. It failed miserably.
Let’s continuously remind folks of this. I vote for creating t-shirts saying:
“The anti-gay right paid over $700,000 for a bogus study on gay parenting and all they got was a nationwide ass-whipping. That’s what they get for not saving the receipt.”