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UT Prof Mark Regnerus Testifies in Defense of Michigan Gay Marriage Ban

by: Natalie San Luis

Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Can't you just picture this face on a WORLD'S BEST DAD mug?
Mark Regnerus, the UT professor who has repeatedly come under fire for his ties to conservative think tanks and religious organizations, recently testified in a federal court trial on Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.

Regnerus was called to testify as an "expert witness" on behalf of the state of Michigan, which voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2004.

The case revolves around two female partners who are raising three children together. The women wish to marry and adopt each other's children, so that both may have legal parental ties to their children.

In his testimony, Regnerus defended his research that concludes that childrearing that does not involve heterosexual, married parents and a biological offspring is "suboptimal."

Read more about Regnerus' research after the jump.

Regnerus' study, which was published in 2012, purported to look at the relationship between children's welfare and parents who have had same-sex relationships.

The study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, two conservative organizations. Although Regnerus, who is Catholic, denied that the sources of his funding played a role in his research, emails obtained with a FOIA request reveal that both groups provided extensive input on the manuscript.

Equally troubling: Regnerus' data set all but ignored children who were actually being raised by a set of gay and lesbian parents, instead focusing on children whose parents had divorced before one parent had come out as gay or lesbian.

After publication, sociology researchers and professionals came out en masse to criticize his work. UT also initiated a scientific misconduct inquiry, although the allegations against Regnerus were eventually dismissed.

But the scientific community dismissing Regnerus as a conservative pseudoscientist pawn didn't stop Michigan from using him as an "expert" on the topic of families that he considers "suboptimal."

Regnerus' testimony lasted about four hours in defense of the "ideal family structure" of a married, heterosexual mother and father with biological children.

The UT Sociology Department issued the following statement regarding Regnerus' testimony:

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.

The Sociology Department resides in the College of Liberal Arts, which has issued a statement regarding Dr. Regnerus.

The Sociology Department has no affiliation with the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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