Paula Tutman's blog for March 6
Thursday March 6, 2014
9:12 Paula Tutman:
Hi, it's Paula Tutman. I'm a collegue of Roger Weber's. He's a little older, a lot taller and the best there is in the business, but he has a couple of days off and so I'll try to do him justice by keeping his seat warm during the end of the trial. My spelling is awful, so let me apologize early for any misspelled words. Let's go with the spirit of what's going on in court, since that's why we're all here.
9:13 Paula Tutman:
Okay... here we go. We all know the players, right?
Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are a same-sex couple from Hazel Park, Michigan who want to ban the Michigan ban on same-sex marriage which Michigan voters decided in 2004. They've, individually adopted children and want the right to marry so they can adopt one another's children. The two women say that ban on marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.
Federal Judge: Bernard Friedman .
Plaintiffs: Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Kenneth Mogill
Attorney General: Kristen Heyse, Michelle Brya, Joseph Potchen
9:16 Paula Tutman:
So we're in the last days of this trial. Today, one last witness. Remember this all boils down to "Do children do well in households with same sex parents."
One more witness today. He's on the stand now. He's Dr. Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He is the last of four witnesses called by the Attorney General. He teaches micro economic theory.
zzzzzzzzzzz... except that he teaches topics about marriage, divorce, same sex marriage, etc.
The blah, blah, blah on this guy is he teaches theories in institutions... with a focus on families. So in plain English, he's an award winning theorist on the "institution of Family". In plainer English, he's written five books, including text books with his research on families.
9:17 Paula Tutman:
He's actually been involved in three other same-sex marriage cases, including 2 cases in Canada. He's also been an expert in the Prop. 8 case in California.
9:18 Paula Tutman:
July of 2005 same sex marriage was legalized in Canada. Wow, I didn't know that and Canada is right across the river. I think this is going to be interesting... hold on.
9:23 Paula Tutman:
By the way, the attorney at the podium, Kristin Heyse she's a State attorney. She is basically vetting Dr. Allen's expertise to put on the record He has lots of credentials and training.
9:23 Paula Tutman:
Dr. Allen is a social scientiest. What's cool about that is, even though he delves into theories, he uses a scientific method to measure his findings.
He's planning to offer his opinions of his report on child's outcomes. He's actually going to present his high school paper on family. He's been recieved as a witness and so here we go.
9:27 Paula Tutman:
ooops, just saw a typo. I was typing verbatim. He's going to give HIS report, not mine. I don't have a report. I'm just the typist, here. Sorry about that.
9:30 Paula Tutman:
Stay with me... he's going to say something interesting to everybody soon. Right now he's giving the broad definition on how he does his research. I think we're waiting for his findings.
9:34 Paula Tutman:
He says prior to 2010 there really wasn't ‘real' or reliable , quantifiable research done on same-sex families. The samples were too small. They were done with soft measures which means the results weren't repeatable or able to be replicated. This sets us up for his studies in which he has devised the ‘scale' in which to make these studies repeatable. Reliable and for all intent and purposes the results are able to stand up to challenge . Hope that makes sense. He's done about 60 studies.
9:35 Paula Tutman:
So we're still vetting right now. Attorney Heyse is still trying to put the weight and "power" of these studies into the record to set them up to withstand a challenge.
9:48 Paula Tutman:
Dr. Allen says that studies prior to 2010 should be considered preliminary. There's limited data. He says biased samples are being used. Sometimes its politicized. He says researchers prior to 2010 appeared to have their own agendas.
Plain English: He saying these previous studies indicate that there are no different outcomes with children in same sex marriages. He doesn't believe the consensus is warranted. He's saying the previous studies were flawed. So here's the meat of the issue. He is saying that consensus on previous studies that there are "no measurable outcomes" are flawed.
He says the outcomes he sees shows the IS a difference in child outcomes in same-sex marriages. That's what he has found in his studies.
9:50 Paula Tutman:
So we're talking about a study that was done in 2010 called the Rosenfeld study. Rosenfeld is the study being challenged right now. In the Rosenfeld study... Allen says Rosenfeld found no difference in progress in school. Allen says the interpretation of the Rosenfeld study is wrong...he (Rosenfeld) was interpreting statistical data.
Still with me?
9:51 Paula Tutman:
Dr. Allen is now explaining what he sees as the flaws in a study that was considered "watershed". He is now challenging the validity in the findings of that Rosenfeld report.
10:02 Paula Tutman:
Allen says: A lot of these children are arriving there from a previous heterosexual coupling. So there's a previous trauma or divorce that was in the household. He says it's a snap shot.
Rosenfeld used a proxy variable, and his proxy is " 5 years ago were you living in the same residence." In the Rosenfeld study he drops people from the sample if they didn't have the same 5 year residency. That has a huge cost because it eliminates half the sample and it turns out that the 5 year residency is correlated with same-sex households, according to Allen. When you drop the sample size, you drop the reliability of the sample, you have larger margins for errors.
Allen says, his study adds-in those dropped samples and it changes the outcome of whether or not there is a difference in the outcome of children in same-sex households.
10:05 Paula Tutman:
Allen says: A lot of these children are arriving there from a previous heterosexual coupling. So there's a previous trauma or divorce that was in the household. He says it's a snap shot. Rosenfeld used a proxy variable, and his proxy is " 5 years ago were you living in the same residence." In the Rosenfeld study he drops people from the sample if they didn't have the same 5 year residency. That has a huge cost because it eliminates half the sample and it turns out that the 5 year residency is correlated with same-sex households, according to Allen. When you drop the sample size, you drop the reliability of the sample, you have larger margins for errors.
Allen says, his study adds-in those dropped samples and it changes the outcome of whether or not there is a difference in the outcome of children in same-sex households.'
Did your eyes cross? Mine did.
The judge is taking a recess of five minutes. This will give you time to uncross your eyes.
10:09 Paula Tutman:
While we are on recess, I realized why my eyes were crossing. Just threw out my contacts and switched to eye glasses. Everything looks more clear. Must be the light. So this gives me a change to clear up my fast typing.
The State is trying to, in essence, show that previous data that was considered 'meaningful and groundbreaking' is flawed.
This guy, Dr. Allen is saying that he has done lots of studies that show that there is a difference in the outcomes of children when you apply true scientific standards to the sampling.
So this is a big this expert says this, this expert says that... but that's what makes it a trial. I'm interested to see what happens when we delve into his specific studies. Right now he's challenging what's been commonly considered, 'the gold standard'. Still waiting to see his original findings.
Wonder what Rosenfeld would say about Allen's assessment of his work. That might be good on pay-per-view.
10:11 Paula Tutman:
Still on break~
10:15 Paula Tutman:
10:16 Paula Tutman:
Allen says there is a difference in child-outcomes in same-sex households. Now we're hearing that Rosenfeld has challenged Allen's findings on the Rosenfeld report. Not a big surprise there.
10:20 Paula Tutman:
In Allen's report, he talks about statistical difference verses actual difference in the style of doing the study. Still waiting to get to the meat of the issue, I know. But this is what's going on now.
10:25 Paula Tutman:
More challenges on the Rosenfeld study. I'll keep it simple until we get to actual findings verses the collection of data for the findings.
10:28 Paula Tutman:
In Canada Allen's data comes after same-sex marriage was allowed. Rosenfeld lumps all of the same-sex households together. He lumps all children together. So two males are given the same weight. Two females are given the same weight. The boys and girls are lumped together. But Allen says he does separate that data. So that's really an interesting difference in how he does his data collection and interpretation.
10:29 Paula Tutman:
This is funny, he's Canadian and says he prefers to use the Canadian stats because Canadians are more honest. Hmmmmmm. No bias there!!!
10:35 Paula Tutman:
IMPORTANT!!! THIS IS THE BIGGEST THING DR. ALLEN HAS SAID THUS FAR: High school graduation rates of children in same-sex couple families is the topic. Allen says he finds a difference. If you're a child in a gay (male-male)household... the odds of graduating high school is 69 percent verses opposite sex (hetero) households.
Girls in a gay (male-male) household the odds are only 15 percent that she'll graduate from high school as opposed to opposite sex households...the same for girls growing up in a lesbian same-sex house hold.
He says there's a lot of 'noise' in the male child study and I didn't catch what the outcome was. Eyes crossed, but I'll figure it out and get back to you.
He says if household type doesn't matter than the graduation rates would be the same. He says the gender combination seems to matter with graduation high school graduation rates of children.
10:43 Paula Tutman:
More blah, blah, blah on ideal sampling environments for reliable studies....zzzzzzzzz
10:49 Paula Tutman:
Allen raps up with the STATE. Final statement is a doosy.
Allen says: "Of the evidence there is no hard evidence that there's NO difference (in same sex households). What evidence we do have, shows there IS a difference. The state should be cautious to making such a fundamental change on such a fundamental decision. We're a long way from in really understanding what the empirical evidence is a conclusive way.
10:51 Paula Tutman:
I loved science as a kid and really liked agricultural economics. I know, SNOOOOORE. But it makes me wonder the following:
Families are complicated with complicated dynamics. As I listen to the sampling and methods, I wonder if Allen and Rosenfeld looked at parental personalities. Are the parents professionals? What's the education level of the parents—same sex and opposite sex. Do the same sex couples have biological interference from blood/birth parents who don't approve, do approve, etc. Families are such complicated entities and so I'm fascinated about how science seeks to measure cause and effect. What about you?
10:52 Paula Tutman:
We're in a break.
10:54 Paula Tutman:
All the jouralists in the room are talking. Reporters are telling me what I missed earlier in the trial...that Rosenfeld did look at those variables. But being fresh to the testimony I'm fascinated at what's being said and how 'experts' try to defend their studies.
11:12 Paula Tutman:
Still on break. But here's the last slide the STATE left up.
This sums up what Dr. Allen testified to for the State.
Children in Gay and Lesbian homes DO NOT Perform as well as children in intact, opposite sex, married homes.
Social Science is (sic)Long way from stating anything conclusive.
Any Conclusive Statements are premature.
-Not made based on any solid evidence, since that evidence does not yet exist.
11:15 Paula Tutman:
Great things about breaks, it gives us a chance to think, catch up and clarify. Here's the data Dr. Allen testified to in his findings:
Boys in lesbian homes are about 76 percent as likely to graduate, in gay homes they are about 60 percent more likely to graduate. But neither of these are statistically significant, meaning they cannot be distinguished from zero.
Girls are another story. First, the estimates are very precise. Second, they are low. A girl in a gay household is only 15 percent as likely to graduate, in a lesbian household about 45 percent as likely.
11:17 Paula Tutman:
Here's a link to one of his articles for your reading pleasure:
11:18 Paula Tutman:
Try that again, the link is for an article on Dr. Allen's work. Will look for a link he published.
11:25 Paula Tutman:
Okay, so let me get the links straight for your reading pleasure.
Here's a link for an article looking at the work of Dr. Allen:
Here is a link on Dr. Allen's research:
We are still on break. Read fast!!!
11:28 Paula Tutman:
One of the journalists in the Media Room is names, Simon Schuster...no kidding. That's what his name is. He says he really catches it. He's a print journalist with The State News from Michigan State University. Nice guy... no relationship to Simon and Schuster publilshing...but what a name. He just gave me these stats and info I wanted to share with you that he dug up based on Dr. Allen's studies.
The title of the report is "High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households."
This passage is in reference the likelihood of the child to graduate high school.
Consider the case of girls ?rst. Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 % as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes. In all cases for girls the estimates are measured with precision.
The point estimates for boys are considerably different. Looking at equation (4) in Table 6, boys in lesbian homes are 76 % as likely to graduate, while boys in gay homes are 61 % more likely to graduate compared to boys in opposite sex married homes. However, none of these estimates are statistically signi?cant. the results from Table 5 mask this gender difference, and the signi?cant effect found in Table 5 column (3) for gay households is clearly being driven by the strong daughter effect.
The different results for the household gender mix are fascinating, especially since this difference is not found in single parent households. Table 6 shows that boys do better than girls in single parent homes, but the difference is not nearly as pronounced as in same sex households. Looking at the unconditional graduation rates (with standard errors in parentheses) for gay households, sons achieve 0.72 (0.074), while daughters achieve 0.43 (0.090). For lesbian households, son's graduation rates are 0.48 (0.060), and daughter's have 0.55 (0.055). Based simply on these unconditional measures, sons do better with fathers, and daughters do better with mothers.
11:29 Paula Tutman:
Ohh oh, we're back and Plantiff co-counsel, Tim Mogill is going after Dr. Allen
11:32 Paula Tutman:
Obviously Mogill will try to discredit Allen's interpretations of the 60 plus studies he finds fault with that say there is basically no measurable outcome difference with children in same sex relationships.
11:34 Paula Tutman:
Mogill's point is that you can't rule out small-sample studies, just because they're small sample. He also says that small-sample studies have been around longer than studies of same sex couples.
11:40 Paula Tutman:
Back in testimony the study done by Mark Regnerus, University of Texas sociologist. Allen apparently found the study reasonable even though it was a small sample study.
Here's is the Cliff Notes re-cap from the Huffington Post on the Regnerus study and his testimony earlier in the trial.
"Regnerus was the leader of a study that screened thousands of people, ages 18 to 39, and found roughly 250 who said they grew up in a house where a mom or dad eventually had a same-sex relationship.
He found they were more likely to have problems — welfare dependence, less education, marijuana use — than young adults from stable families led by heterosexuals. But he later acknowledged that his study didn't include children raised by same-sex couples in a stable relationship. "
11:41 Paula Tutman:
Ooops, had an extra 'is' in that last post. Like I said, poor spelling and typing fast. Let's go with the spirit of the post.
11:43 Paula Tutman:
Allen says that 25 years or more of study are needed before there can be anything conclusive. The more jurisdictions that change, the shorter time it would take to find out the ramifications.
11:45 Paula Tutman:
Never good when you have to eat some words. Mogill says to Allen: Have you ever said, Rosenfeld's study has been the first solid piece of statistical evidence done on the subject?"
Mogill is now showing him a copy of an online interview that he did some time ago.
11:51 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is still trying to cast a few dispersions on Allen's assessments on sample size. I'll let you know when something substantive is said.
11:59 Paula Tutman:
A few journalists are talking in the Media Room during lulls. We wonder if a court can really determine what screws up kids and what makes them successful. It brings up the old argument of nature verses nurture, don't you think? I wonder if that shouldn't be part of the sampling process. I think I mentioned it earlier. Who's measuring how many of these children of same-sex couples are adopted, what is their genealogy? What courses through their veins verses what's being spoken and practiced in their households. If Science can predict long-term outcomes, shouldn't it take these factors into consideration? This is groundbreaking trial for so many reasons, not the least of which is—it just plain makes you wonder.
12:04 Paula Tutman:
I didn't forget you. Still waiting for something of real substance. Stay tuned...
12:11 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is talking about the way Dr. Allen breaks down the samples. One example is "boys living in a gay (male-male) are more likely to graduate from high school than opposite sex parents." Allen answers he doesn't see a statistically significant difference.
12:13 Paula Tutman:
So what's happening here is, Mogill is trying to show holes in Dr. Allen's analysis. It looks like... and I stress, it looks like he (Mogill) is trying to show that Dr. Allen cherry picks the results he likes and pokes holes in the science of the results he doesn't like. That's just what it looks like. I guess he (Mogill) will drive the point home soon.
12:18 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is pointing to a diagram that Dr. Allen used to show statistical difference between children in SS households and "Traditional" families.
Mogill: "This morning you testified about the figures you used in your report. You testified they weren't meant to be precise. He characterized the figures as stylized and a metaphor." Mogill: "When you look at children in ‘"traditional" families and "foster" children, the figures showed at age 8 you can't tell if a child is in first grade or fourth grade, it's not accurate."
He just got Dr. Allen to admit one of the diagrams he drew up is inaccurate---twice.
12:19 Paula Tutman:
So that's that whole "poking holes" in testimony stuff that attorneys are paid to do.
12:28 Paula Tutman:
One point Mogill makes to Allen is based on his own writing in one of his studies, "because same sex marriage was legal in Canada by 2006 it promoted more openness in responses. He addresses that in his study. He indicated that legalization reduces the stress and stigma of homosexuality and encourages honest participation in census questions", as documented by Allen.
12:33 Paula Tutman:
So funny, the attorneys just made a joke about who might still be awake in the courtroom.
12:34 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is making this point: The Rosenfeld study was measuring whether there was normal progress through the grades. Dr. Allen's study just looked at high school graduation rates. If a child was having difficulty progressing through school the Canadian census (which is the data source Allen used) did not address when a child was having difficulties in school or who that child was living with.
12:40 Paula Tutman:
Mogill to Allen: Is it your claim that your paper is studying the effects of growing up in a same sex household. Allen: I think I make it clear that I'm talking about people who are living in a same sex household.
12:45 Paula Tutman:
Mogill: Is there no significant difference in high school graduation rates living in same sex or opposite sex households... Allen answers: Yes. Mogill: So there's no difference when you pole for education and marital status. Allen: Yes.
12:47 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is now polling Dr. Allen on his opinion of same sex marriage. He's asking him about his affiliation with the Heritage Foundation, an organization that works to stop same-sex marriages. Mogill is now bringing in Dr. Allens personal and professional affiliations with people who make it know they oppose same sex marriage.
12:48 Paula Tutman:
He now just aligned Dr. Allen with The Ruth Institute which has a slogan: Marriage- one man-one woman-for life.
12:49 Paula Tutman:
Mogill: Are you in anyway biased in your research and interpretation of data on this case because of your views on homosexuality.
Allen: Asking me a question?
Allen: I don't think I'm biased.
12:50 Paula Tutman:
Objection from the State!!!
12:51 Paula Tutman:
Mogill: Is it accurate that you believe the consequence in engaging in homosexual acts is a seperation from God and eternal damnation from God?
12:51 Paula Tutman:
State re-directs: So Kristin Heyse is requestioning Dr. Allen.
12:52 Paula Tutman:
She's taking Allen back to his issues with the Rosenfeld study.
12:57 Paula Tutman:
Okay, we're back to blah, blah, blah. But the words of the State's big witness still seem to hang in the air. That he believes homosexuality "unrepentant" means eternal damnation to Hell. So here's the offshoot. In that one statement, did he discredit his interpretation of recognized data, did he use his personal feelings to guide him in his own sense of science?
1:14 Paula Tutman:
Court is done for the day. Restarts at 10am tomorrow morning. Closing statements begin then. Guarenteed the headline for all media covering this will be the last 30 seconds of testimony from the State's big-finish witness, an economics and statistic's guy who has challenged any and all studies that show there are no measurable outcome differences in children raised in same-sex households with his own studies that show measurable differences and difficiencies in same-sex households when it comes to graduation rates
Here's the recap:
Mogill/Plantiff attorney: Is it accurate that you believe the consequence in engaging in homosexual acts is a seperation from God and eternal damnation from God?
Allen/ State expert witness: Unrepentant, Yes.
This could be considered BOMBSHELL testimony. I guess we'll see.
Roger is still off tomorrow, so you're stuck with me. We'll start closing statements then.
Thanks for tuning in. We really appreciate it.
Enjoy the rest of your day.