Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry
A California lawsuit
challenging the constitutionality of Prop. 8.
2013-FEB: Amici Curiae
and 19 other religious groups.
Part 2 of two parts
In this web site, "SSM" is an acronym for
"same-sex marriage," a.k.a. gay marriage,
2013-MAR-01: An Amici Curiae filed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and 19 other religious groups (Coninued):
- The ADL brief cites historical grounds for religious and moral disapproval, including:
- "Religious justifications for discriminatory laws vanish as popular support for those forms of discrimination fade. Or, as Professor Eskridge put it:
“[r]eligious doctrine on matters relating to race and sexuality has been relentlessly dynamic: the [current interpretation of the] Word of God has changed constantly."
- "The unstable half-life of religious and moral justifications for discriminatory past practices is one reason this Court no longer relies on religious and
moral disapproval alone to uphold laws, particularly laws burdening minority groups. ... As one scholar has systematically demonstrated,
'... the post-World War II Court has
never relied exclusively on morality to sustain government action with the exception of the now-discredited Bowers v. Hardwick'."
- "... when it comes to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights and marriage equality, history is repeating itself: Religious and moral objections to marriage equality are dissipating quickly as societal attitudes fundamentally recalibrate. ... During the last three decades, most main-
stream Protestant denominations, including the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Presbyterian Church, the Quakers, the Episcopal Church, the
United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ, have announced that LGBT people are entitled to equal treatment and issued statements beseeching their members not to reject LGBT congregants. ..."
same period, Unitarian [Universalist]s, the United Church of Christ, and Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jews began ordaining openly gay rabbis and ministers. ... The Episcopal Church followed suit in 1989."
"To be sure, for the Catholic Church, Mormons, Southern Baptists, and some other groups, marriage equality has become 'the new Maginot Line for
homosexuality.' ... However, in general, moral and religious condemnations of same-sex marriage have waned in recent years. A number of
groups, including the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform Jews), the Unitarian Universalist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, and the Episcopal Church, now embrace marriage equality."
- "Change has not come overnight, but neither did it come overnight with slavery, segregation, interracial marriage, or women’s rights. The
bottom line is that 'the tension between equal rights
for gay people and liberty for religious people has
been obliterated for a good many denominations and
reduced for others, [and] the evolution continues'."
- "As Justice Scalia aptly observed in Lawrence [v.Texas]:
'If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is no legitimate state interest for purposes of proscribing that conduct ... what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising the liberty protected by the
The answer: There is none."
- "No matter how framed, the religious-freedom argument can gain no traction in a case, like this one,
involving a challenge to a discriminatory law; this
Court is not in the habit of upholding discriminatory
laws to protect religious prerogatives. Amici would do better to recognize that religious liberty is best safeguarded when religious groups retain the freedom to define religious marriage for themselves, remembering that civil marriage is an institution of
government, which is prohibited from establishing laws reflecting particular religious viewpoints."
Points of interest added by the religious groups other than the ADL:
Most of the religious groups that joined with the ADL in sponsoring the Amici Curiae added their own points of interest. Excerpts from three group's comments are listed below:
- Americans United for the Separation of Church and State wrote, in part:
"Consistent with its support for the separation of church and state, however, Americans
United opposes measures that exceed the bounds of
permissible accommodation by imposing substantial
harms on innocent third parties. That concern is
especially salient when the purported accommodation results in government-sanctioned discrimination against a class of people that historically has been
the target of religious and moral disapproval."
- The Metropolitan Community Church is a LGBT-positive Christian denomination founded in 1968. They write:
"MCC has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements and addresses the
important issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and other forms of oppression. MCC is a movement that faithfully proclaims God’s inclusive love for all people and proudly bears witness to the holy integration of spirituality and sexuality."
- T'ruah: Rabbis for Human Rights-North America expressed concern on Proposition 8's limitations on the religious liberty of their rabbis. They write:
"The insistence that human beings are created in the image of God also spawns a commandment to procreate -- that is, to partner with God in creating new divine images. In fact, this is the first commandment that the Torah gives to human beings. Today, many same sex couples are having and raising children. Denying these couples the rights of marriage challenges their ability to fulfill this divine commandment."
"The [United Nation's] Universal Declaration of Human Rights similarly guarantees that, 'Men and women of full age
... are entitled to equal rights as to marriage,
during marriage and at its dissolution'."
T’ruah represents 1800 rabbis and cantors, and tens of thousands of American Jews. Three of the four major denominations of Judaism -- the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Movement -- all permit religious ceremonies for same-sex marriages. Since the State authorizes our rabbis and cantors to conduct civil marriages, the refusal to recognize some of the marriages we conduct constitutes a restriction on our own role as clergy."
This topic continues in the next essay with speculation on how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Brief of Amici Curiae Anti-Defamation League et al. in support of Respondents," Anti-Defamation League & 18 other religious groups, 2012-MAR-01, at: https://www.au.org/
Copyright © 2013 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2013-MAR-08
Latest update: 2017-JAN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson