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Sunday, May 29, 2016

By Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — In a bombshell development, a federal judge just threw out the state’s first witness in Michigan’s gay marriage trial on Monday, concluding the Princeton-educated philosophy expert had nothing to offer in this case.

“He’s very eloquent … but right now, all he is offering to us is mainly his opinions,” U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said of the witness. “The court does not believe … that he should be allowed to testify.”

This came as a blow to the state in the case, in which two female nurses are seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage so that they can marry and adopt each others’ children.

The state had planned on having its first witness — Sherif Girgis — on the stand for up to two hours. Prior to getting dismissed, Girgis spent about 20 minutes on the stand listing his credentials, most of which included lecturing and writing academic papers on the philosophical debate surrounding the definition of marriage. He also has written a book, “What is Marriage, Man & Woman in Defense.”

But Friedman dismissed the witness following arguments from the plaintiffs side, who noted that Girgis is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case, the plaintiffs argued.

Friedman agreed.

The state, meanwhile, is preparing to put its second witness on the stand: sociologist Mark Regnarus, who is likely to be the most controversial witness to testify in the case.

Regnerus, a University of Texas sociologist, published a 2012 study on family structure that has been condemned by social scientists and psychology groups as misleading and irrelevant. Regnarus has asserted that differences exist between children of parents who have had same-sex relationships and those with married moms and dads, the former faring worse.

The state is counting on Regnarus to help bolster its argument that marriage should be defined as a man and a woman, and that children are best off raised by a mom and a dad.

Voters banned same-sex marriage in 2004. The state argues the voters have already spoken on the issue, and their decision should stick.

AFP Photo/Joel Saget

  • Phillip Wilson

    By attacking private property, collectivism redirects aggression outward and furthers modern systems of plunder, serfdom, and injustice.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      And this has bearing on the above article how?

    • Really? Because that’s the nature of capitalism you’re describing.

    • Angela Walker

      Jeez, a Tea Party snake logo guy who wanders in with nothing to say about the article and no apparent insight into anything? Must be Tuesday.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Sounds like Michigan is doing an imitation of a minor league baseball manager facing a 10-0 loss that has all his regular pitchers either worn out or injured.

  • Nathan Lemmon

    The only witness’s that can give opinions are experts. This witness is obviously an expert. The judge should be removed. He’s biased against the plaintiff.

    • CMH01

      An expert on what? Stating his opinion? Where are his peer reviewed papers detailing the results of his study on same sex marriage? How is his opinion important when determining civil rights and legal issues? The second witness is valid, even if his studies are not. The study can be disputed by other experts, so that’s where the ‘case’ will be made.

    • Angela Walker

      So the judge knows the witness’s background and credentials and makes a decision. You, Nathan, know next to nothing about the witness and decide the judge is wrong. What kind of person does that make you? Informed? No. Credible? No. Tea Party material? You betcha. 😀

    • DCKeene

      LOL…you know the judges biases? Please explain how that is, since you were there listening to testimony.

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