Michigan enlists author of discredited study as "expert" witness in case against marriage equality

Mark Regnerus' research has been widely discredited, with even his own university distancing itself from his work

By Katie McDonough
March 4, 2014 7:42PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

University of Texas at Austin associate sociology professor Mark Regnerus' research claiming that gay parenting harms children has been discredited by several major medical associations and an editor of the journal that originally published the flawed study, but that hasn't stopped anti-LGBTQ activists and conservative politicians from using him to build their case against marriage equality.

On Monday, Regnerus was enlisted as an "expert" witness in a case challenging Michigan's constitutional ban on equal marriage. Regnerus spoke for three hours and cited his discredited research to argue that “the most prudent thing to do [with regards to equal marriage] is wait ... before making any radical moves around marriage.”

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In response to his presence in the court, Regnerus' university issued a statement distancing itself from his research and urging the public to critically "evaluate" his claims:

Dr. Regnerus' opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the university. Like all faculty, he has the right to pursue his areas of research and express his point of view. We encourage the community of scholars and society as a whole to evaluate his claims.

The chairman of the University of Texas at Austin’s Sociology Department also issued a statement casting doubt on Regnerus' expertise:

Like all faculty, Dr. Regnerus has the right to pursue his areas of research and express his point of view. However, Dr. Regnerus’ opinions are his own. They do not reflect the views of the Sociology Department of The University of Texas at Austin. Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay 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 LBGTQ partners and their families. We encourage society as a whole to evaluate his claims.

The Sociology Department at The University of Texas at Austin aspires to achieve academic excellence in research, teaching, and public service at the highest level in our discipline. We strive to do so in a context that is based on the highest ethical standards of our discipline and in a context that actively promotes and supports diversity among our faculty and student populations.

h/t New Civil Rights Movement


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Equal Marriage Gay Marriage Gay Rights Lgbtq Rights Marriage Equality Michigan