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USA, Wisconsin: Federal Judge Won’t Delay Marriage Equality Case

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Wisconsin Governor Scott WalkerGovernor Scott Walker’s attempt to delay or throw out the marriage equality lawsuit in the state has failed.

Edge Boston reports:

A federal judge has denied a motion by the state to stay the case involving the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s marriage amendment. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Monday said delaying the case would serve no purpose. The state filed a motion earlier this month asking that the case be stayed until the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on the domestic partner registry. Crabb said the state has not explained specifically how the registry case is likely to change issues in the marriage amendment challenge, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Let’s bring marriage equality to Walker’s state, and expand the list of Great Lakes states that recognizes it!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

USA, Michigan: Mariage Equality Ruling Could Come Down Today

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

MichiganA federal judge could rule as early as today on the state’s marriage equality lawsuit.

The Detroit News reports:

A federal court ruling on whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional could come as early as Thursday, say observers of the case. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is weighing the legal claims of a lawsuit filed by Hazel Park nurses April DeBoer, 42, and Jayne Rowse, 49, who are living as a couple and raising three special needs children they adopted as individuals. They are asking him to lift both the bans on same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples so they can adopt each other’s children.

It’s likely any favorable ruling would be immediately stayed, pending an appeal to the 6th District, the same circuit court that will consider the Kentucky appeal.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Marriage Equality Ruling Due Within Two Weeks

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

MichiganWe’ll get the answer in Michigan soon, the judge says.

Edge Boston reports:

A federal judge said he expects to make a decision within two weeks after Friday’s closing arguments in a challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Science, data, expert testimony and constitutional protections were among the various points attorneys presented before Judge Bernard Friedman in the case that has attracted attention because other states with similar bans have ended up in federal court.

We’re waiting with bated breath. Hey, what is bated breath, exactly?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Day 8 of the Marriage Equality Trial

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

MichiganToday was Day 8 of the trial for marriage equality in Michigan, and the final day of testimony.

Things ended with a bang. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Douglas Allen, a Canadian economist who has researched 60 same-sex parenting studies during a 15-year period, warned that Michigan should uphold its ban on same-sex marriage because there “is no evidence on the child outcome issue.” But it was Allen’s personal views on homosexuality that emerged following a question from plaintiffs’ attorney Ken Mogill, reported the Detroit Free Press.

“Is it accurate that you believe the consequence of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation?” Mogill asked the state’s expert, then added, “in other words, they’re going to hell.” “Without repentance, yes,” answered Allen.

His personal anti-gay views aside, his testimony was just plain crazy. Among his contentions:

Girls raised by two gay men are only 15 percent as likely to graduate from high school compared to girls raised a mother and father.

I’m sorry, but in what world does having two gay dads reduce your chances of graduating High School by 85%?

Closing arguments will be held tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Day Seven of the Marriage Equality Trial

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

MichiganLike Marg Regnerus before him, Loren Marks, an associate professor at Louisiana State University, acknowledged that more research would be needed to validate his anti-gay views.

Freep.com reports:

[Attorney Carol] Stanyar was questioning Loren Marks, an associate professor at Louisiana State University, who wrote an article criticizing a statement from the American Psychological Association about the children of gay parents. Marks, in his article, was challenging the statement 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.” Marks, who testified for most of the day, said he was struck by the absolutist tone of that statement and set out to test it, finding that research was inadequate to make such a claim. Stanyar noted that there was a time when scientists believed the world was flat and that in the 1600s, during the Salem witch trials, some scientists would have believed in witches. Marks replied that opinion is sometimes expressed as empirical evidence. Marks said his article was not really about gay and lesbian parents so much as seeking truth and that more research is needed before anyone can make sweeping statements.

Two more days until the trial ends. How quickly can we expect a ruling?

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USA, Michigan: Day 6 of the Michigan Marriage Equality Trial

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

MichiganThe state presented its second day of testimony yesterday in the marriage equality case.

USA Today reports:

The state’s theory is that kids thrive best when raised by married moms and dads — a point that two academic experts hammered during testimony Tuesday. One of them was Brigham Young University economist Joseph Price, who testified that children of same-sex couples have a tougher time in school. At least that’s what his data shows, said Price, testifying on the state’s behalf in a case that could make Michigan the 18th state to legalize gay marriage. The state is opposed to this, but plaintiffs argue the bans on same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples are unconstitutional.

Price, meanwhile, said his research shows that children fare better in life when raised by married heterosexuals. “Children born into a married couple have better outcomes right at the start of life. This gap has shrunk over time, but has continued to exist over decades,” he said. Children raised by married heterosexual parents, he said, are 35% more likely to be making normal progress in school than kids raised by same-sex couples. “This is statistically significant,” Price said, noting children of same-sex couples are also 15% more likely to be held back in school than children raised in traditional family settings.

Anyone have the skinny on this supposed “study”?

LGBTQ Nation reports on the cross-examination of Price and Regnerus:

On cross-examination, attorney Dana Nessel sharply challenged Price’s claim that an ideal household is one led by a man and a woman. She asked him what Rowse and DeBoer should do with their three adopted children who have special needs. “Not every child has the ability to have that ideal environment, correct?” Nessel asked. Price replied: “It doesn’t change what the ideal environment is.”

Earlier, attorneys for the couple tried to peck away at the credibility of a social scientist who is the author of a disputed study of young adults who grew up in a home where a parent had a same-sex relationship. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas said his study found they were likely to have more problems with finances and education than children raised by a mother and a father.

Christine Williams, chairwoman of the school’s sociology department, said the department doesn’t share Regnerus’ views. “Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association, which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds,” Williams wrote on the department’s website while Regnerus was in Detroit. Regnerus was asked about the statement while on the witness stand and said it was “sad” and “regrettable.”

The trial should wrap up on Friday. Then we’ll see when the judge rules.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Day 5 of the Marriage Equality Trial

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

MichiganYesterday was the fifth day of the marriage equality trial in Michigan.

The first witness for the defense was tossed out.

Towleroad.com reports:

The state had planned on having its first witness – Sherif Girgis – on the stand for up to two hours. Prior to getting dismissed, Girgis spent about 20 minutes on the stand listing his credentials, most of which included lecturing and writing academic papers on the philosophical debate surrounding the definition of marriage. He also has written a book, “What is Marriage, Man & Woman in Defense.” But Friedman dismissed the witness following arguments from the plaintiffs side, who noted that Girgis is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case, the plaintiffs argued.

The state’s second witness, however, the widely discredited Mark Regnerus, was not.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus testified for more than three hours as a witness for the state of Michigan, which is defending a ban on gay marriage. The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, is being challenged by two Detroit-area nurses in a rare 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.

Regnerus did admit there was no conclusive evidence that gays are bad parents:

“We aren’t anywhere near saying there’s conclusive evidence” that children with same-sex parents grow up with no differences when compared to kids with heterosexual parents, he said. “Until we get more evidence, we should be skeptical. … It’s prudent for the state to retain its definition of marriage to one man, one woman,” said Regnerus, who believes that’s the best scenario for kids.

Cross-examination will happen today. I hope they take him and his “study” apart.

In related news, at least one Michigan clerk says she will issue marriage licenses if ordered by the court, even though the state AG has ordered her not to.

Pink News reports:

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown referred to a memo from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, which said county clerks should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under any circumstances. The memo read: “To all county clerks: Even if the U.S. District Court were to decide that Michgan’s Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional … same-sex marriage licenses should not be issued.” Brown said she would be at odds because she is expected to hold up both the state and US Constitutions, noting the 2013 strike-down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “My gut is to follow what the judge says, not what the [Attorney Genera] says,” Brown said during her testimony on Monday.

And finally, Equality on Trial has some of the trial transcripts.

The case is expected to go on through the rest of the week. How quickly will the judge rule, and will he come down in our favor, like all the others lately?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Day 4 of the Marriage Equality Trial

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

titleYesterday was day four in the trial for marriage equality in Michigan.

Mlive reports:

The trial in a Hazel Park couple’s challenge of Michigan’s gay marriage ban continues Friday with more testimony from Nancy Cott, a Harvard University history professor who specializes in gender and sexuality.U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is presiding over a trial that began Tuesday after he declined to grant summary judgement in the case last year. The court so far this week has heard from a psychologist, a sociologist, a local law professor and a demographer, all called by the plaintiffs. The state will call its own witnesses later in the trial.

On Top Magazine has more:

On Friday, Nancy Cott, a Harvard professor with expertise in the history of marriage, testified that neither procreation nor gender roles are a requirement for marriage. “Nobody applying for a marriage license has ever been asked what roles the two parties will take on,” Cott said. “Inability to have a child has never been grounds for divorce in any state,” she later said. Marriage in contemporary America, Cott testified, is “about mutual support in an emotional way as well as in an economic way. … So that the relationship of marriage to gender has been on a historical trajectory toward a kind of neutrality.”

In related news, a new survey shows that 54% in Michigan now favor marriage equality.

Mlive reports:

A majority of Michigan residents support gay marriage a decade after voters approved a constitutional ban that is now on trial, according to the results of a new statewide survey, and those supporters appear to be growing more confident in their beliefs. Results from Michigan State University’s latest State of the State Survey, released Friday, suggest that 54 percent of residents favor “the right of gay and lesbian couples to be legally married,” while 36 percent are opposed. The survey of 1,008 residents, conducted via landline and cellphone over an eight-week period ending February 10, has a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Ten percent of respondents were undecided.

Next week, discredited researcher Mark Regnerus will take the stand for the defense.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Day 3 of the Marriage Equality Trial

Friday, February 28th, 2014

MichiganYesterday was day three of the trial for marriage equality in Michigan.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Gary Gates of the Williams Institute at UCLA law school co-authored a book on demographics of the gay and lesbian population. He’s used census data to study the characteristics of same-sex couples. Gates is expected to testify Thursday in Detroit federal court. Detroit-area nurses Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are asking a judge to overturn a 2004 constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. They say it violates their rights under the U.S. Constitution.

A group of religious leaders plans to rally for marriage equality in Kalamazoo tonight.

WWMT reports:

Friday night Kalamazoo area religious leaders will rally together in support of marriage equality in Michigan… Friday night’s rally will take place at Bronson Park at 6:00.

If anyone has been at the trial and wants to share their impressions, we’d love to hear from you.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Marriage Equality Trial, Day Two

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

MichiganYesterday was day two of the trial for adoption and marriage equality in Michigan.

WLNS reports:

Wednesday marked day two of Michigan’s same-sex marriage trial. The case was first brought to federal court by two Detroit area nurses to fight Michigan’s adoption code. The judge says the case is really an issue of gay marriage. Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer have one thing in mind as they walk into the courthouse. “We love our children. This started out as our children. This is still about our children.” And on the first two days of the trial that’s exactly what it’s about. Psychology experts on Rowse and Deboer’s side spoke yesterday. A same-sex marriage expert at Cooley Law School sums up their arguments. “They presented testimony that basically said that the gender of the parent doesn’t matter, it matters if they’re a good parent,” said Emily Horvath, Cooley Law School, Associate Professor.

The trial continues today, and the whole thing will take about two weeks – it’s probably the longest trial for marriage equality since the Prop 8 case in California. Have our opponents come up with anything new since then?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.