Tuesday March 4, 2014
roger weber: Court in session. After some preliminary matters, Mark Regnerus will be cross examined.
roger weber: Cross examination by Leslie Cooper of the ACLU.
roger weber: Cooper: It's not your opinion that children raised by same-sex parents necessarily have poorer outcomes?
Regnerus: That's not my opinion.
roger weber: Cooper: Are there population-based studies that confirm children of low income families develop as well as children of higher income levels?
Regnerus:There are differences.
roger weber: Cooper: It is not your view that marriage should be limited to those groups whose children are statistically most likely to have positive outcomes?
roger weber: Cooper: You recognize that divorce is associated with poorer outcomes for children?
roger weber: Cooper is challenging the fact that Regnerus compared respondents whose parents had had a same sex relationship, only with respondents who spent their entire childhood in a stable, heterosexual household.
roger weber: Cooper is asking Regnerus about sociologist Paul Amato of Penn State, who was a consultant for the 2012 study Regnerus conducted.
roger weber: Amato later disputed that the survey showed children of same-sex couples have pooer outcomes than the children of tradtiional families.
roger weber: Cooper just read this statement into the record: It comes from the Sociology Department at the University of Texas, where Regnerus is employed:
"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."
roger weber: Regnerus says of the statement: "It's regrettable. The university is characterized by academic freedom. They've apparently been getting negative press.
I think they just wanted to distance themselves from me, which is sad.
roger weber: Cooper: It's not your view that the fact that a group (African Americans, interracial couples, people marrying for the second time) has an elevated rate of divorce is a reason to exclude them from marriage.
roger weber: Cooper is asking him about other studies showing no differences in children who were donor-conceived for either same-sex or heterosexual couples.
roger weber: Regnerus will not say whether he believes a child is better off staying in the foster care system than being adopted by a same-sex couple.
Cooper: You also agree as a matter of your religious affiliation that sexual relationships outside of marriage are wrong?
Regnerus: Yes. (He says that view has nothing to do with his research.)
roger weber: Cooper reads from a statement Regnerus made to his students several years ago. "I believe if your faith matters, it should inform what you teach and research." Regnerus says his faith has shaped his interest in researching certain topics, but "I'm not as open about my faith as I might have once been."
roger weber: His 2012 study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative organization. Cooper is reading from an e-mail in which Regnerus asks for feedback from two same-sex marriage opponents about "their hopes for what emerges from this project."
roger weber: Kristen Heyse is doing redirect for the Attorney General.
roger weber: Cooper had questioned him earlier about whether there was pressure to complete his study before the Supreme Court took up gay rights cases. Regnerus says he was not "hung up" on that deadline.
Court in recess til 1:15.
roger weber: Next witness for the Attorney General will be Joseph Price, an economist from Brigham Young University.
roger weber: He says the bulk of his research is the economics of the family.
roger weber: He says he is a Morman. Asked if that affects his research, he replied, "The data do all the talking."
He will talk about different child outcomes in various families.
roger weber: Dana Nessel is questioning Price before Judge Friedman can qualify him as an expert witness,
roger weber: Friedman says he is "very well qualified." to testify on the economics of the family.
roger weber: Price says children with a gay or lesbian parent fare more poorly in school than those from heterosexual households.
roger weber: Court in recess for 15 minutes.
roger weber: Price is basing his conclusions about educational achievement from a study by Michael Rosenfeld, who concluded there is NO difference between the children of gay or lesbian parents and the children of biological parents. Price interprets the same data differently. He say children from traditional marriages do, on avergae, 15 per cent better in school, in terms of advancing to the next grade level.
roger weber: He bases the conclusion of the different academic progress to
1) fathers and mothers parenting differently.
2) biological relateness
3) family stability.
roger weber: Price says mothers are more empathetic, tender and nurturing. They stress emotional security and personal safety, and they spend more time with the children. He says fathers stress competition and risk taking. They have a "rough and tumble" approach that helps children learn self-control.