News (USA)

Michigan paid $40K for ‘expert’ testimony in same-sex marriage trial

DETROIT — The state of Michigan says it has spent $40,000 on witnesses who testified as experts at a recent trial on same-sex marriage.

Mark Regnerus
Mark Regnerus

The state has paid $39,478.75 to experts, and some additional bills “have not yet been sent in,” Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette, told The Associated Press.

The state hired conservative social scientists and economists from outside the state to defend Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman described their testimony as “largely” or “entirely” unbelievable. He says their opinions of the well-being of children raised by same-sex couples are on the “fringe.”

Among those testifying as “experts” for the state was University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, author of a controversial and widely discredited 2012 study that was based on “flawed methodology,” and soundly rejected by hundreds of scholars as well as the American Sociological Association.

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In the his ruling, Friedman wrote, “The Court finds Regnerus’ testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” and cited evidence that the conservative research was “hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder” which clearly expressed its wish for skewed results.

The trial concluded earlier this month after the state’s final witness — Douglas Allen, a Canadian economist who has researched 60 same-sex parenting studies during a 15-year period — testified that unrepentant homosexuals are going to hell.

Friedman struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage Friday. Many same-sex couples were married Saturday in four counties before a higher court suspended the decision. More action by the appeals court is expected this week.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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