UPDATE: The gay marriages have begun in Michigan! (Saturday March 22, 2014)
A federal judge today, nominated by Ronald Reagan, just struck down Michigan’s ban on gay marriages.
This is the 14th consecutive victory marriage equality advocates have had since last summer’s game-changing Supreme Court decision in US v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowze react to the decision:
The state of Michigan has filed an appeal, and asked the court to stay the decision until the appeal is concluded. In the meantime, it appears gay marriage might begin immediately if the stay doesn’t come soon:
You can find the complete decision below. Here’s the best part:
In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” Tr. 2/25/14 p. 40, state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2694. Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.
In addition to find the Michigan ban unconstitutional, the court took a special swipe at the anti-gays’ star witness, Mark Regnerus, who recently authored a debunked “study” claiming that gay parents turn kids gay and make them want to kill themselves. The study was conceived at the Republican party’s leading think-tank, the Heritage Foundation.
One of the main problems with Regnerus’ “study” is that it wasn’t terribly clear that any of the children he examined actually grew up with gay parents.
The court had this to say about Regnerus:
The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.
This is a big deal since Regnerus faux-study is being used the Russians, other eastern European governments, and anti-gay governments in Africa to justify a draconian crackdown on gay rights in those regions. The judge also noted that Regnerus study was not “impartial,” as he claimed:
While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.
The judge even put the word “study” in scare-quotes.:
Whatever Regnerus may have found in this “study,” he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus’s views in general and reaffirmed the aforementioned APA position statement….
They, along with Regnerus, clearly represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields.
Another great quote from the decision:
Fourth, the state defendants’ position suffers from a glaring inconsistency. Even assuming that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than children raised by heterosexual married couples, the state defendants fail to explain why Michigan law does not similarly exclude certain classes of heterosexual couples from marrying whose children persistently have had “sub-optimal” developmental outcomes. According to Rosenfeld’s study, children raised by suburban residents academically outperformed those children raised by rural and urban residents. Likewise, “middle class and poor families are ‘sub-optimal’ compared to well-off families, and couples with less formal education are ‘sub-optimal’ compared to couples with more formal education.” Pls.’ Ex. 31 at 5. A child’s racial background is another predictive indicator of future success, as the study showed that “the probability of making good progress through school is greater in the U.S. for children of Asian descent than for children of all other racial groups.” Id. Taking the state defendants’ position to its logical conclusion, the empirical evidence at hand should require that only rich, educated, suburban-dwelling, married Asians may marry, to the exclusion of all other heterosexual couples. Obviously the state has not adopted this policy and with good reason. The absurdity of such a requirement is self-evident. Optimal academic outcomes for children cannot logically dictate which groups may marry.