Moral Low Ground

US Government

State’s Expert Witness at Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Trial: Gays Are Going to ‘Hell’

Equality advocates march in Detroit. (Photo: Equality Michigan)

Equality advocates march in Detroit. (Photo: Equality Michigan)

An expert witness hired by the state of Michigan to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban testified Thursday in a court case challenging the ban that unrepentant gay people are going to “hell.”

The Detroit Free Press reports Canadian economist Douglas Allen has researched 60 same-sex parenting studies over a 15-year-period and believes Michigan should uphold its gay marriage ban. Allen claims that it is not yet fully understood whether family environments with two parents of the same sex are good or bad for children.

Allen was questioned by Ken Mogill, an attorney for plaintiffs seeking to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban in DeBoer v. Michigan, about his views on homosexuality.

“Is it accurate that you believe the consequences of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation?” he asked, referring to the Abrahamic deity figure. “In other words, they’re going to hell?”

“Without repentance, yes,” replied Allen. “The state should be very cautious in making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental issue when there’s no evidence on the child outcome issue,” Allen testified. “We’re a long way from understanding what the child outcome results are in a conclusive way.”

While there is no scientific evidence that the “God” and “hell” Allen believes in exist, his claim that there’s no scientific evidence regarding the results of same-sex marriage on children is false. There have been many studies conducted on the subject, with mixed findings. While a 2013 study by the University of California at Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Williams Institute found “some economic disadvantage” to same-sex parenting, sociologists Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz of New York University (NYU) and the University of Southern California (USC), respectively, analyzed nearly every available study on gay parenting and found virtually no difference between children raised by two women and the offspring of heterosexual parents.

“There’s no doubt whatsoever from the research that children with two lesbian parents are growing up to be just as well adjusted and successful” as children with a mother and a father, Stacey told LiveScience.

Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is defending a 2004 voter-approved same-sex marriage ban, told the Free Press that Allen’s supernatural belief that the “souls” of unrepentant gays are condemned to spend eternity in “hell” does not invalidate his expert testimony.

“He was very clear that his personal beliefs have no impact on his research or the data it produces,” said Yearout.

Among Allen’s claims:

-Girls raised by two fathers are only 15 percent as likely to graduate high school as girls raised by a married mother and father.

-Girls raised by two mothers are only 45 percent as likely to graduate high school as girls raised by a married mother and father.

-Boys raised by two mothers are only 76 percent as likely to graduate high school as boys raised by a married mother and father.

-Boys raised by two fathers are only 60 percent as likely to graduate high school as boys raised by a married mother and father.

Allen’s statistics are derived from Canadian studies, which he claims are better because Canadians are more likely to be honest due to the more tolerant nature of Canadian society.

Closing arguments in the Michigan trial were delivered on Friday. Mogill asserted that “there is a well-emerged awareness that denial of the right to marry is a form of discrimination that our society can no longer tolerate.”

“The right to marry is a fundamental right,” he stressed. “It should apply regardless of sexual orientation.”

But Assistant State Attorney Kristin Heyes countered that “the will of the people” has been expressed by the 2.7 million Michiganders who voted against marriage equality.

“Why not let the people decide? This case is about science, data, what’s best for children,” Heyes insisted.

The matter is now in the hands of US District Judge Bernard Friedman to decide. If the same-sex marriage ban is struck down, Michigan would become the 18th state to allow gay marriage.

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