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Dueling Briefs in Leadup to Supreme Court Fight


By Matt Baume

The Defense of Marriage Act has some powerful enemies, with strongly-worded opposition coming this week from some familiar names. A flawed study on LGBT parenting is also under attack, with its author now under investigation. All that and some good news coming out of Maine.

Last week we reported that multiple challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act are headed to the US Supreme Court. This week a wide range of companies, politicians, medical organizations, and cities have filed amicus briefs in support of those challenges.

Those companies include Microsoft, Google, Viacom, eBay, and Xerox, among others. And the cities range from San Francisco to New York to Boston. Their brief states that “Statements of principle are our agenda for success … Our principles reflect, in the truest sense, our business judgment. By force of law, DOMA would rescind that judgment, and direct that we renounce these principles, or worse yet betray them.”

Members of Congress filing a brief against DOMA include Jerrold Nadler of New York, Nancy Pelosi of California, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, John Conyers of Michigan, and James Clyburn of North Carolina — a hundred and thirty Representatives in total.

And numerous medical organizations filed a brief of their own, which states “The claim that legal recognition of marriage for same–sex couples undermines the institution of marriage and harms their children is inconsistent with the scientific evidence.” That brief was submitted by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others.

Filing a brief in defense of DOMA was the American College of Pediatricians. Now they’re not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a sixty-thousand-member respected medical organization that opposes DOMA and has existed for nearly a century. The American College of Pediatricians is about ten years old, is estimated to have just a couple dozen members, and primarily exists to oppose protections for LGBT people and families.

Their pro-DOMA brief cites a deeply flawed study that we reported on a few weeks ago. That study purported to show that the kids of LGBT parents suffer when compared to those of straight parents. But that contradicts a large body of evidence, and now the study’s author, Mark Regnerus, is under investigation by his employer for scientific misconduct. The University of Texas will issue a decision on his study within 60 days.

In the mean time, the real medical organizations explained in their brief that the ACP “seriously mischaracterizes” the research. They also pointed out that “the Regnerus study sheds no light on the parenting of stable, committed same-sex couples.”

Turning now to the states, there are positive new poll numbers in Maine. Voters there will decide in November whether to allow LGBT couples to marry. Currently the measure is ahead with 57% support and just 35% opposed.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  July 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm


  • 2. Carpool Cookie  |  July 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I'm sorry, but does anyone else get kind of a gay vibe from Mr. Regnerus' picture?

    (He's the one who did the study.)


  • 3. Mark  |  July 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    It sounds more and more like 2012 will be OUR year!

  • 4. davep  |  July 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    uuhhhh…. I don't know about THAT, but what the heck is up with the couple in background in that photo?? What an extremely peculiar choice of, uh, 'photo composition' for him to make when deciding what kind of photo of himself to release for public viewing…

  • 5. Carpool Cookie  |  July 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    His youtube clips seem to be about him discussing teens having sex before marriage. Maybe this was a photo shoot highlighting that? (Or, MAYBE the pics taken at some public park where people pick each other up?)

  • 6. MightyAcorn  |  July 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Yes, it seems to be a professional photo, so one assumes those promiscuous straight people are supposed to be there. Or maybe it's an UriGellerCam which has captured just one of the many salacious imaginings of his "scientific" mind….

  • 7. Carpool Cookie  |  July 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    He looks really startled and frightened….like a scared rabbit.

  • 8. john  |  July 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    The problem I see, is the study gives conservative justices room to say their is a rational basis because child outcomes of same sex parenting is still debateable. :-(

  • 9. Lymis  |  July 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I don't argue that they might try to claim something like that, but it still misses the point.

    The only way that any study results have any meaning is if people are claiming that THE BEST gay parents are worse at raising kids than THE WORST straight ones. Even if gay parents for some reason don't all among the best of the best, unless people are going to use these studies to prevent the worst straight couples from marrying or raising kids, these studies have no place in this discussion.

    Currently, by Supreme Court declaration, convicted murders, rapists, and spouse abusers have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to marry.

    Find me a credible, scientific, peer-reviewed study that shows that the very best gay couples are worse for kids than a guy on death row for beating his wife to death, and we can start talking. Until then, this is nothing more than abject and unadulterated homophobic bias.

    While ripping on the invalidity of a poorly designed and interpreted study, let's not let them off the hook for one instant for even bringing it up in this context in the first place.

  • 10. 415kathleenk  |  July 17, 2012 at 8:20 am


  • 11. José Merentes  |  July 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Should we sleep ease and safe with polls in Maine?

  • 12. grod  |  July 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Apparently the 57/35/8 split in the late June poll done by Maine Today Media used the shortened question as written by Summers, and not reflective of the language found in the petition triggering the ballot initiative. The latter included a clause freeing clergy opposed to performing same-sex marriages from being required to do so. Its inclusion in the pollster's question would be expected to increase those favorable to civil marriage equality. So you and others in Maine could sleep earier. But it ain't safe however until the actually poll results are known.

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