Briefs submitted in the Obergefell v. Hodges case before the
Supreme Court involving appeals of 4 same-sex marriage
from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.
Part 17: 2015-APR:
Three more briefs opposing same-sex marriage,
by Concerned Women for America, the
for Moral Law, and the International
Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers:
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.
Early 2015-APR: Description of three more briefs opposing marriage equality that have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court : 1
- Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a women's group promoting conservative causes of particular concern to women. The CWA is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group. In its Winter 2010 Intelligence Report, the Center stated that the CWA:
"... continues to make arguments against homosexuality on the basis of dubious claims. President Wendy Wright said this August that gay activists were using same-sex marriage 'to indoctrinate children in schools to reject their parents’ values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.' Last year, CWA accused the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a group that works to stop anti-gay bullying in schools, of using that mission as a cover to promote homosexuality in schools, adding that:
'... teaching students from a young age that the homosexual lifestyle is perfectly natural … will [cause them to] develop into adults who are desensitized to the harmful, immoral reality of sexual deviance'." 2
In their Amicus Curiae to the U.S. Supreme Court, they claim that the LGBT community has amassed formidable power: financially, politically, religiously, in the media and among the public nationwide. The titles of some of the sections in their brief list where where they believe the LGBT community has influence:
- Lawmakers at the Federal State, and Local Levels.
- Powerful Political Allies.
- Well- Financed by a Broad Range of Contributors and Resources.
- Influential labor unions support homosexual causes.
- Corporate America backs homosexual issues.
- Many Religious Groups Support Homo-sexual Causes.
- Overwhelming Media Support.
- Public Opinion Is Trending In Favor of Homosexuals. 3
They conclude that those state and federal courts that have recognized sexual orientation as a protected class deserving of protection from discrimination and access to marriage were wrong because:
"... political powerlessness is a required factor in determining classifications, and homosexuals are not politically powerless."
CWA concludes that:
"For the foregoing reasons and for other reasons stated by each of the Respondents, [the U.S. Supreme Court] ... should affirm the judgments of the Sixth Circuit [Court of Appeals].
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- alone among the Circuit Courts -- found that lesbians, gays and bisexuals do not have a constitutional right to have access to marriage.
The Foundation's amicus curiae describes itself as a:
"... national public-interest organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the unalienable right to acknowledge God as the moral foundation of our laws; promoting a return to the historic and original interpretation of the United States Constitution; and educating citizens and government officials about the Constitution and the Godly foundation of this country’s laws and justice system. 4
In their brief, they emphasize that the American people have historically condemned same-gender sexual behavior as immoral. Thus it:
"... should not be sanctioned by giving it the official state sanction of marriage." 4
They interpret the federal Constitution using the belief system of its authors at the time the document was adopted. Since the authors lived at a time when same-gender sexual behavior was universally considered immoral and was actually criminalized, they conclude that the Constitution cannot support same-sex marriage today. They quoting a number of biblical passages that have been interpreted by some Christians as condemning all same-sex behavior, they note that:
"The 'crime against nature' was prohibited in many of the colonial law codes. When the Constitution was adopted, homosexual conduct was prohibited either by statute or by common law in all thirteen states. ... When the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, homosexual conduct was prohibited in 32 of 37 states, and during the twentieth century it was prohibited in all states until 1961. In light of this history, it is inappropriate for the lower federal courts to take this newly-discovered right to engage in homosexual conduct and require the states to not only permit it but also give it the honored status of marriage. ..."
"If this Court reverses the decision of the Sixth Circuit, the debate will be closed before the issues are resolved. Same-sex marriage will be the nationally-mandated policy of all fifty states regardless of whatever negative consequences may result." 4
The Foundation for Moral Law obviously interprets the U.S. Constitution as a fixed document whose meaning has never changes from the time that it was written until now. This is called Originalism. This theory of interpretation is often called "strict constructionism." It interprets a legal document as meaning "today not what current society (much less the Court) thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted." 5 It requires a judge to apply a law or constitution only as it was written. One weakness of this theory is that the framers held diverse opinions at the time. Also, the Constitution was ratified by delegates at 13 state conventions who themselves held diverse beliefs. Whose opinions should rule? Finally, as U.S. Constitution Online states -- with an apparent reference to Thomas Jefferson:
"... do the opinions of a small, homogeneous group from 200 years ago have the respect of the huge, diverse population of today? To a black woman, how much trust can be placed in the thoughts of a white slave owner who's been dead for generations?" 6
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are often referred to as originalists in matters of Constitutional interpretation. 7 More details on judicial philosophies held by members of the U.S. Supreme Court are available on this web site.
- The International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers (ICECE) supports chaplains in the military who are members of fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian denominations. Their brief eloquently states:
"... the inevitable result of amending the Constitution by judicial fiat ... creates a conflict between the Constitution’s religious liberty and Free Speech clauses, their underlying principle of freedom of conscience, and the military’s need for ‘good order and discipline’ in the face of the inherent battle of opposing views of the nature and purpose of marriage and man." 8
Their brief notes that dozens of states and federal courts since mid-2013 have overturned state constitutional bans marriage by same-sex couples based on the due process and/or equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, that Amendment was ratified in 1868 at a time when same-gender sexual behavior was criminalized in almost every state. Because of their originalist judicial philosophy, the ICECE interprets the scope of the 14th Amendment as its framers and ratifiers would have intended it to mean. They refer to marriage equality as "a common law crime" because it violates the original intent of the Amendment.
They predict that if the U.S. Supreme Court allows same-sex couples to marry across the U.S., that their ruling would:
"... produce an inherent and irreconcilable tension, resulting from Christian chaplains’ obligation to support and defend the Constitution when that obligation conflicts with their legally mandated duty to represent their faith, sending churches and endorsers in order to minister to military personnel of like faith. ... [This will result] in a climate that will penalize and repel those with traditional, conservative Christian beliefs and be an interpreted by the military as the Court’s invitation to the military to become instruments of tyranny, replacing the rule of law." 8
Zack Ford, writing for Marriage Equality," comments:
"The brief does not address the fact that marriage equality is already legal in most of the country and has not significantly disrupted the chaplain corps." 1
Webmaster's comment (bias alert):
It may be worth noting that the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) bans people from marrying spouses from other tribes, and both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (New Testament) bans people from marrying persons of a different faith. And yet there are no restrictions in U.S. states that prohibit interfaith and interracial marriages. In the past, chaplains have somehow handled this conflict and successfully carried out their assignments. I see no reason why they cannot accommodate marriage equality as well.
This topic continues in the next essay with
two additional amicus curiae
by groups opposed to marriage equality.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Zack Ford, "Ten Novel, Absurd, And Irrelevant Arguments Made In Supreme Court Briefs Against Marriage Equality," Think Progress, 2015-APR-17, at: http://thinkprogress.org/
- Evelyn Schlatter, "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda,"
Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Report #140. Online at: http://www.splcenter.org/
- "Concerned Women for America Amicus Brief," Scribd, at: http://www.scribd.com/
- "Foundation for Moral Law Amicus Brief," Scribd, at:http://www.scribd.com/
- Antonin Scalaia, "God's Justice and Ours," First Things magazine #123, 2002-MAY, Page 17 to 21.
- "Constitutional Interpretation," U./S. Constitution Online, at: http://www.usconstitution.net/
- "Originalism," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
- "International Conference of Evangelical Endorsers," brief, Scribd, at:http://www.scribd.com/
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-APR-24
Latest update: 2015-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson