State’s last witness says unrepentant homosexuals are going to hell


Local pastors and supporters of traditional marriage rally around the federal courthouse in Detroit on Monday during the same-sex marriage trial. The impact of same-sex parents on children was the topic of testimony on Thursday. / Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s gay marriage trial ended on an explosive note today, with the state’s final witness saying he believes unrepentant homosexuals are going to hell.

His views emerged following a question from plaintiffs attorney Ken Mogill, who is fighting to overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

“Is it accurate that you believe the consequence of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation?” Mogill asked the state’s expert, then added, “in other words, they’re going to hell?”

“Without repentance, yes,” answered the expert, Canadian economist Douglas Allen, the last witness to testify on behalf of the state in a trial that could make Michigan the 18th state to legalize gay marriage.

Allen, an economist who has researched 60 same-sex parenting studies during a 15-year period, said that he believes Michigan should uphold its ban on gay marriage. He argued that science is a long way from determining whether that family structure is good or bad for kids, and that messing with public policy would be premature.

“The state should be very cautious in making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental issue where there’s no evidence on the child outcome issue,” Allen said in court today. “We’re a long way from understanding what the child outcome results are in a conclusive way.”

A spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is defending the voters’ decision in 2004 to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, said Allen’s religious beliefs do not taint his testimony.

“The trial ended on Dr. Allen’s comment that the science on this remains unsettled,” said Joy Yearout. “He was very clear that his personal beliefs have no impact on his research or the data it produces.”

Allen, who has testified in three other same-sex marriage trials, was the last witness to testify in the nine-day-long trial in which two lesbian nurses are seeking to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage. The state is fighting to uphold the ban, arguing voters have already spoken on this issue and that their decision should stand.

But the plaintiffs argue the ban is unconstitutional and are fighting to reverse it so that they can marry and adopt each other’s children.

The trial has focused largely on the outcomes of children raised in same-sex families. The state has argued that children thrive best when raised by married moms and dads. The plaintiffs have countered that there is no evidence to show that children raised in same-sex households fare better or worse than those raised by heterosexuals.

Allen disagrees. He has analyzed 60 same-sex parenting studies from 1995 to 2013 and said his research shows there are differences.

Allen testified that his data, a 2013 report based on Canadian Census data of 8,632 people, show that children raised by same-sex parents do not perform as well in school as those raised by married moms and dads.

Among his findings:

■ Girls in a gay households (2 dads) are only 15% as likely to graduate from high school compared with girls raised by moms and dads.

■ Girls raised in lesbian households (two moms) are about 45% as likely to graduate from high school as those raised by married moms and dads.

■ Boys in lesbian homes are 76% as likely to graduate high school as boys raised by married heterosexuals.

■ Boys raised in gay households (2 dads) are 60% as likely to graduate as boys raised by married heterosexuals.

Allen noted that his findings were criticized by other researchers but stood by them and said they were based on a larger group of people than studies offered by plaintiffs’ experts. He also said that his study, compared with an American study that found no differences in child outcomes in same-sex families, “might be better” because Canadians are more likely to be more honest and because Canada is considered a more tolerant place where there’s less ostracism toward gay people.

For the last week, the plaintiffs have tried to attack the credibility of the state’s witnesses by pointing out their religious views and getting them to admit their views on gay marriage. All four of the state’s witnesses said they believed Michigan should refrain from reversing its ban and said their research was based on numbers, not views.

Closing arguments are set for Friday at 10 a.m.