Thursday, March 27, 2014

Q Toon: The Doctor Is In

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Mar 27, 2014
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled last week that Michigan's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. This is the fourteenth case out of fourteen that has gone in favor of marriage equality, and frankly, I'm running out of new cartoon ideas about it.

So this week's cartoon focuses on Judge Friedman's striking rejection of so-called expert witness Dr. Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who produced a conservative-funded study which purported to show that children of same-sex couples do not fare as well as children of mixed-sex couples.

Doc Regnerus's study has been roundly criticized for its poor methodology -- of the 15,000 participants in the study, only two same-sex couples in a steady relationship were included. For the most part, the children in the study whose parents were in stable mixed-sex relationships were contrasted with children from broken homes:
While Regnerus critiques "same-sex couples" raising kids, his study does not actually compare children raised by same-sex couples with those raised by different-sex couples. The criterion it uses is whether a parent "ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex." In fact, only a small proportion of its sample spent more than a few years living in a household headed by a same-sex couple. 
Even the UT-Austin Sociology Department rejected the study, so the only surprising thing about Judge Friedman's concurring opinion is its Judge Judyesque no-nonsense refusal to suffer the fool gladly. From the judge's ruling, scare quotation marks his:
The Court finds Regnerus's testimony 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." ....
Whatever Regnerus may have found in his "study," he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort...

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