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Published: Monday, 3/24/2014

Michigan: $40,000 for gay marriage trial experts

Judge calls them 'fringe viewpoint'

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT  — Michigan has spent about $40,000 so far on experts whose testimony at a trial over gay marriage was panned as a “fringe viewpoint” by the judge.

The attorney general’s office went outside the state, and even to Canada, to find conservative social scientists and economists who could defend Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman threw out the 2004 ban as unconstitutional Friday, but a higher court suspended the decision, at least temporarily, after dozens of couples were married Saturday. More action from the appeals court is expected this week.

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.

Besides testifying at the trial, the witnesses gave depositions and prepared reports for the state. They were Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Joseph Price of Brigham Young University, Loren Marks of Louisiana State University and Doug Allen of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Much of their testimony centered on the well-being of children raised by same-sex couples versus households led by a man and a woman.

The judge said he couldn’t give the testimony of Marks, Price and Allen “any significant weight.”

“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,” Friedman said in his 31-page decision.

Regnerus claimed children with a parent who had a same-sex relationship at some point had problems in employment and education in future years. The study has been widely criticized, even by his colleagues at Texas.

“The court finds Regnerus’ testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” Friedman said.



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