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New study released to bolster anti-gay arguments
Princeton, N.J.--Mark Regnerus, the sociologist whose earlier study condemning the effects of being raised by same-sex couples on children was disputed, criticized and ultimately rejected by his colleagues, is back with another study criticizing the views of Christians who support same-sex marriage.
“At a glance, there is a pretty obvious fissure between Christians who do and do not oppose same-sex marriage,” he writes in Public Discourse, the online journal of the conservative Witherspoon Institute. “More than seven times as many of the latter think pornography is OK. Three times as many back cohabiting as a good idea, six times as many are OK with no-strings-attached sex, five times as many think adultery could be permissible, thirteen times as many have no issue with polyamorous relationships, and six times as many support abortion rights.”
The results were compiled from his Relationships in America survey, collected earlier this year interviewing over 15,000 people. He says that the results are nationally representative. However, of those 15,738 respondents, only 3,649 were heterosexual churchgoers who either supported or opposed same-sex marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage, the anti-equality group that has been targeted by courts and election officials for failing to abide by election laws requiring funding disclosure, immediately trumpeted the study. Despite Regnerus himself stating that “I’m not suggesting any ‘slippery slope’ sort of argument here,” NOM’s president Brian Brown immediately puts on his mittens and grabs a toboggan.
“The institution envisioned by those who want to redefine marriage isn’t faithful… it isn’t exclusive… it isn’t permanent… put bluntly, it isn’t marriage,” he wrote in an appeal to supporters to pay his bills. The emphases were his. “We must stand up for the truth about marriagenow more than everbefore it is ‘redefined’ out of existence!”
Of course, the real purpose of Brown’s letter is at the bottom, where he writes, “Won’t you please join us in this fight by clicking here and making a generous donation of $35, $50, $100, $500 or more today to help NOM defend marriage and the faith communities that sustain it?”
NOM and other organizations funded Regnerus’ earlier study for the purpose of using it in court to bolster arguments against recognizing the right to same-sex marriage. However, earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Michigan, a Reagan appointee, ripped him and his study apart in his ruling.
“Although Regnerus touted the [New Family Structures Study] as one of the few studies to use a large representative pool of participants drawn from a random population-based sample, other sociological and demographic experts . . . heavily criticized the study on several grounds,” Judge Friedman wrote. “First, it failed to measure the adult outcomes of children who were actually raised in same-sex households. This is because the participants’ household histories revealed that many parental same-sex romantic relationships lasted for only brief periods of time. And many of the participants never lived in a same-sex household at all.”
“Regnerus reported that ‘just over half (90) of the 175 respondents whose mother had a lesbian relationship reported that they did not live with both their mother and her same-sex partner at the same time,’ ” he continued. “Second, many critics voiced their concern that the NFSS made an unfair comparison between children raised by parents who happened to engage in some form of same-sex relationship and those raised by intact biological families. This is because almost all of the children in the former group were the offspring of a failed prior heterosexual union, which produced a significant measure of household instability and parental relationship fluctuation.”
Friedman, who stated in his opinion that he gave great consideration to the pro-marriage experts, wrote, “The court finds Regnerus’ testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it ‘essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society’ and which ‘was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.’ ”
“The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged,” Friedman concluded.
The attorney representing Utah in its appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal on April 10 asked the court ignore a submission citing Regnerus’ NFSS.