Sunday, March 30, 2014

Canadian economist never knew he would become centre of a U.S. firestorm over his research on same-sex parenting

In a Detroit courtroom this month, a British Columbia economist was called to the stand to help build the State of Michigan’s case that overturning its ban on gay marriage would be a mistake.

For four and a half hours, Douglas Allen was grilled by prosecuting attorneys on his small body of research on same sex parenting. Specifically, he was there to defend a trio of statistical studies purporting to show that same sex parenting does not compare to its heterosexual equivalent.

Then, in the final 30 seconds of the cross-examination, attorney Ken Mogill threw Mr. Allen an unexpected theological question: “Is it accurate that you believe the consequence in engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation from God?”

In an answer that would soon be called a “bombshell” by Detroit media, an off-guard Mr. Allen replied “without repentance, yes.”

Within days, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman effectively legalized Michigan gay marriage, and ruled that Mr. Allen’s research represented a “fringe viewpoint.”

Within hours of that, four Michigan counties had begun handing out marriage licences to same sex couples.

All across the United States, as state after state finds itself defending local gay marriage bans in court, the search has been on for science that can bolster their position. Ironically, in recent years this has often led them across the border to Canada, one of the world’s earliest adopters of same sex marriage.

For on the outskirts of one of Canada’s gayest cities, a well-liked economist armed purely with Canadian data has emerged as one of the only academics claiming to have empirical proof of the societal perils of allowing gays to marry.  (more...)

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