Roger Weber trial blog March 5

roger weber: Dana Nessel, attorney for the plaintiffs, is cross examining Joseph Price. He is a Brigham Young professor who testified for the Attorney General. He believes children of same sex marriage fare more poorly academically than children of traditional married couples.
roger weber: Nessel is challenging Prices assertion yesterday that mothers are more empathetic, tender and nurturing. They stress emotional security and personal safety, and they spend more time with the children. He said fathers stress competition and risk taking. They have a "rough and tumble" approach that helps children learn self-control.
roger weber: Nessel: Have you ever personally observed any families headed by gays or lesbians?
Price: That would not be the kind of research I do.
roger weber: Nessel: Do you believe that some mothers behave in a way fathers behave and some fathers behave in a way mothers behave?
Price: Yes.
roger weber: Nessel: Do April and Jayne love their kids any less because they were adopted and not the product of their womb?
Objection. Sustained.
roger weber: Nessel: Would you expect people who want kids, who go through all those measures (to adopt, would be better parents than those who had unplanned children?)
Price: I have no expert opinion on that.
roger weber: Price says a study in Norway and Sweden, where same sex couples can marry, showed the breakup rate for gay men was fifty per cent higher than for heterosexual couples, and the breakup rate among lesbian couples was twice as high. Nessel is challenging this.
roger weber: Nessel says the same sex couples in Norway and Sweden were able to form recognized partnerships, which are different from traditional marriages.
Court in recess until 11:05.
roger weber: Next witness for the Attorney General will be Loren D. Marks from the School of Social Work/Child and Family Studies at LSU.
roger weber: He is being questioned by Joseph Potchen of the Attorney General's Office.
roger weber: Marks will challenge the conclusion of the American Psychological Association that "not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents."

roger weber: He says of the APA brief, which was released in 2005:
"I found the language strong and lacking caveats, which I found to be unusual. It struck me for a number of reasons. Typically we avoid absolutist language as social scientists."
roger weber: He cites a survey of 800 psychology professors. According to Marks, the ratio of liberal to conservative educators on social issues is 23 to 1. "The concern is that as the balance shifts that heavily, it becomes increasingly difficult to express an alternative opinion."
roger weber:
He says he examined previous studies on same-sex parenting. He wanted to know if the APA "minimized, marginalized or overlooked" some of those studies.
roger weber: He says research prior to the 2005 APA conclusion about the children of gay or lesbian parents is not strong enough to support claims on either side of the issue.
roger weber: He questions sample size in the studies, potential bias by volunteer participants, and lack of heterosexual comparison groups. He also says few of the studies dealt with gay men.
roger weber: Marks: "The group repeatedly selected to represent all same sex parents was privileged, well educated, middle to upper class, white lesbian mothers."
roger weber: Marks says some of the studies cited by the APA used no heterosexual comparison groups. Of those which did, some used single heterosexual mothers rather than married heterosexual couples.
roger weber: Marks: In many cases, the most important child outcomes of interest (education level, job history, criminality, mortality etc.) will come later. "Very few studies examined late adolescence or early adulthood. Those that do use very small samples."
roger weber: Court in recess until 1:15.
roger weber: Court schedule:
Thursday: Testimony concludes
Friday: Closing arguments
Monday: Briefs submitted.

Judge Friedman has indicated he will immediately begin working on ruling.
roger weber: Marks responded to critics of his report with an article called "We see what we seek."
Testifying today, he said" All of us have blind spots. We have different theoretically perspectives that encourage us to see different things.
……It's ironic perhaps that our blind spots are best pointed out to us by people who see the world quite differently than we do."
roger weber: More testimony on what Marks sees as liberal bias. He says in 2011, the board of the American Psychological Association voted 157 to 0 in support of same sex marriage.
roger weber: Price is an active member of the Mormon Church, which opposes same-sex marriage. Asked if his religious beliefs impacted his findings, he replied, "That's an interesting question. I think the full truth in response to that is both yes and no."
roger weber: Five minute recess.
roger weber: Cross examination by Carole Stanyar.
roger weber: He agrees that psychologists are more likely to use smaller sample sizes.
roger weber: Stanyar: We already have evidence before this court ( that gays and lesbians are victims of abuse and harassment. Would this contribute to the difficulty in getting people to take part in the studies?
Marks: It almost certainly would.
roger weber: Stanyar is asking him about a witness friendly to her side---David Brodzinsky. He has authored several articles on gay and lesbian adoption and has counseled 100 gay and lesbian families.

Stanyar: Would you say his expertise in this area of gay and lesbian parenting would exceed yours?
Marks: I'm sure there are many things Dr. Brodzinsky knows that I do not.
roger weber: Stanyar: (this is paraphrased) In the 1600's in the Salem witch trials you would expect some scientists to believe that there were witches and they were guilty. Would you expect that the ratio changed over time?
Marks: I would assume that it did.
Stanyar: Are there witches?
Marks: There are at my house on Halloween.
roger weber: Marks: My brief is about the importance of validity and truth. Truth is expensive. We have not paid the required price….. We have a responsibility to measure twice or three times or four before we cut once, to use the carpenter's analogy.
roger weber: Marks says if we rely on the opinions of social scientists and not on proper research, we are in danger of making social scientists a "defacto electoral college."