Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mark Regnerus responds to Obergefell

Mark Regnerus

Saturday, 21 religious conservatives, mostly Catholics, have responded to the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges at First Things (an orthodox Catholic website). Among those is the disgraced UT, Austin Associate Professor Mark Regnerus. He begins with:
A half-life is the time required for the amount of something to fall to half of its initial value. If I take any comfort from the legal destruction of the timeless internal structure of marriage, it’s that same-sex marriage will have a short half-life. My bet is on fifteen years. In other words, within fifteen years the rate of its uptake among self-identified gay and lesbian Americans will fall to half of what we will observe over, say, the next few years—the time during which pent-up demand for same-sex marriage will have been met. After that, my best guess is that we’ll be able to discern its “standard” rate. (I’m afraid its radioactivity will not likely subside as rapidly.)

The reason its half-life will be short is that marriage is a conservative institution and ultimately indestructible. …

Sloppy scholarship.

It's really an odd argument to make for several reasons. Here we have someone who professes to be a social science researcher. He is throwing out a statistic yet he has not taken the time to analyze marriage statistics from, say, Massachusetts or Spain. Here is a guy whose specialty seems to be the consequences of same-sex marriage and he doesn't study (and has never studied, to the best of my knowledge) more than a decade of data in Massachusetts to support his cause. Or, perhaps, he has studied the data and it does not support, or conform to, his religious beliefs. Regnerus is a proponent of religion — not science.

Then there is the obvious. If few gays will marry in the future then why is it a problem? To further suggest that marriage is a conservative institution is really far-fetched and if, as he says, it is indestructible then why does he care if a few gays participate in what he predicts are declining numbers?

Finally, Regnerus is suggesting that something is invalid if its popularity wanes. It is intellectually dishonest because one thing has nothing to do with the other. The Supreme Court has determined that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional based on the law and not on the number of people potentially affected by those bans in the future.

This is the kind of Bedouin bizarre selectivity that got Regnerus in trouble in the first place.

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