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Religious Tolerance logo

Briefs submitted in the Obergefell v. Hodges case before the
U.S. Supreme Court involving appeals of 4 same-sex marriage
cases, from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 16: 2015-APR:
Three more briefs opposing same-sex marriage,
by PFOX, "Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their
," and six persons who were raised by
same-sex parents.
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We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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same-sex marriage symbol Early 2015-APR: Description of three more alarming briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that oppose marriage equality:

On 2015-APR-17: Think Progress published an article by Zack Ford titled: "Ten Novel, Absurd, And Irrelevant Arguments ... Against Marriage Equality:" 1 Two of these briefs were described in the previous essay. Three more are described below:

  • PFOX, the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays filed a brief 2 claiming that:

    "The ex-gay community is subject to more animus, intolerance, and discrimination than any other minority group." 1

    This statement appears to be ambiguous and untrue. If they are referring to the total animus, intolerance, and discrimination against their group, then blacks, would experience much more because there are very few ex-gays in the U.S. If they are referring to the per capita level of hatred, then the transgender/transsexual community would certainly experience more attacks. The murder rate of transsexuals by strangers is enormous.

    The term "ex-gay" relates to men and women who entered reparative or similar therapy to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual. Although their success rate has been at or near 0.0% such therapy has had two obvious results:

    • Some gays and lesbians have entered therapy with a homosexual orientation, exited therapy with their orientation unchanged, but have decided to be celibate, without an intimate partner, for the rest of their life. They are considered ex-gays by PFOX.

    • Some bisexuals entered therapy, exited with their sexual orientation unchanged, and have made the decision to seek sexually active relationships only with members of the opposite gender. They do this even though some bisexuals are more attracted to members of the same sex. They are also considered ex-gays by PFOX.

That is, they have failed to change their orientation to heterosexual. However, by changing their behavior, at least temporarily, PFOX considers them as ex-gay.

Unfortunately, many clients entering therapy have become depressed because they have failed at their goal of changing their sexual orientation. Some have developed suicidal ideation; some of them have completed suicides. Such therapy has been banned for non-adults in recent years in a few states. The main group that promoted changing people's sexual orientation through reparative therapy was Exodus International. The leadership of Exodus International abandoned their programs after more than 35 years of failures, apologized to the LGBT community for the extensive harm that they had done, and ceased operation during mid-2013.

PFOX's brief stated:

"No other minority group has endured the brunt of growing intolerance, moral-cultural approbation, and derision more during this time of cultural upheaval than have former homosexuals. Consequently, many ex-gays and their supporters are forced to remain closeted, on the fringes of American culture, because of fear of societal disapproval and stigma.

The negative stereotyping by gay activists of ex-gays is a sad end to the long struggle for tolerance by the gay community; the oppressed have become the oppressors. That ex-gays and their supporters are now the targets of the same people who, until recently, were victimized themselves, demonstrates the tremendous political power and social acceptance of gays and lesbians." 1,2

Ex-gays have been the victims of animus and ridicule from others. However, much of it it appears to be based on their assertion that "homosexuality" is defined in terms of a person's behavior, while the LGBT community, and most religious and social liberals, human sexuality researchers, and therapists define it in terms of one's sexual orientation. Reparative therapy groups have had some limited success at changing the behaviors of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, but have totally failed -- or essentially so -- to change their clients' orientation.

The connection between their assertion of animus and ridicule directed at their group and same-sex marriage being sought by others is not clear.

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  • "Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives" also filed an Amicus Brief. They appear to be largely a Mormon group, which is composed of opposite-sex married couples in which the man is either a bisexual male or gay male and the wife is heterosexual. Even though the male of the couple is not heterosexual, and is thus not sexually attracted to his wife, the couples:

    ". ... choose to build their families on the foundation of marriage between a man and a woman."

    They appear to believe that if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, that somehow they will come to believe that:

    "... marriage to a member of the opposite sex is an impossibility, even meaningless, and only same-sex marriage can bring gays and lesbians the personal and family fulfillment and happiness that is the universal desire of the human heart. That one-size-fits-all message is false, and the Court ought not to send it."

    Again, it is unclear why this message would be communicated to the LGBT community.

The Religious News Service reported that marriages by:

"... same­-sex attracted men and straight women are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than others." 6

Doug Mainwaring, one of the husbands in the group, is of the opinion that the "liberal intelligentsia: is promoting same-sex marriage in order to dismantle the institution of marriage. He also believes that gay dads are not capable of showing warmth and tenderness to their children. 4,2

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  • Three couples filed similar Amicus Curiae based on their disrupted experiences during childhood: One of their parents came out of the closet as being gay or lesbian. This led to a divorce. The children subsequently then raised by the gay or lesbian parent.

    One of the couples, Robert Oscar Lopez and Brittany Newmark Klein, claim that children of gays are now:

    "... treated with less dignity, more suspicion, fewer protections and heightened discrimination/harassment/retaliation than they saw before same-sex marriage achieved a level of national success ...[because they are] denied their heritage and forced to live in segregated domestic spaces." 5,2

    A second couple, Heather Barwick and Katy Faust, believe that:

    "... children have a right to know and be raised by both their biological mother and father."

    If implemented, this couple's concept would make adoption impossible, and would cause chaos by closing down all foster homes, and in some cases returning the children to abusive homes.

    A third couple, Dawn Stefanowicz and Denise Shick believe that:

    "... other adult children from ... households [headed by gay or lesbian parents] do not feel safe or free to publicly express their stories and life-long challenges." 6,2

The submissions of all three couples seem to conflict with the only large scale study to date in the world that has compared children raised by same-sex parents with those raised by opposite-sex parents. This study is the ACHESS survey in Australia. It found that children being raised by same-sex parents:

  • Thrive equally well when compared to the rest of the population in self-esteem, emotional behavior, and the amount of time spent with parents.

  • Scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion -- a measure of how well family members get along.

  • Showed "no statistically significant differences" of all other health measures.
The three couples who filed briefs may have had some atypical experiences that caused them to have a poorer outcome.

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This topic continues in the next essay with
a description three additional amicus curiae
briefs by groups opposed to marriage equality.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Parents Friends of ExGays amicus brief," Scribd, at:
  2. Zack Ford, "Ten Novel, Absurd, And Irrelevant Arguments Made In Supreme Court Briefs Against Marriage Equality," Think Progress, 2015-APR-17, at:
  3. Alex Anderson, "Marriage Debate Marches Into Nation’s Capital Ahead of Supreme Court Case," The Daily Signal, 2015-APR-25, at:
  4. "Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives Amicus Brief," Scribd, at:
  5. "Robert Oscar Lopez and BN Klein Amicus Brief," Scribd, at:
  6. Peggy Stack, "When straight women marry gay Mormon men, struggle often ends in divorce," Religion News Service, 2015-JAN-13, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage> same-sex marriage sub-menu > Kentucky > Supreme Court > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Kentucky > Supreme Court > here

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Michigan > Supreme Court > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Michigan > Supreme Court > here

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Ohio > Supreme Court > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Ohio > Supreme Court > here

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > same-sex marriage sub-menu > Tennessee > Supreme Court > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage >same-sex marriage sub-menu > Tennessee > Supreme Court >here

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > SSM menu > > Supreme Court > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM menu > > Supreme Court > here

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-APR-24
Latest update: 2015-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson
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