LDS Church, other faiths say same-sex marriage opposition not due to bigotry
In its appeal filed last Monday, the state argued that it has the constitutional authority to define marriage, and the union of a man and a woman is the best setting to bear and rear children. It also contends that traditional marriage furthers the state's interests in accommodating religious freedom and preserving social harmony in the state, while redefining marriage would be a recipe for social and religious strife.
Attorneys for the three gay and lesbian couples who sued the state have until Feb. 25 to respond to the state. The Denver-based 10th Circuit approved their request to file a reply containing as many as 24,000 words. Another flurry of briefs supporting the plaintiffs is expected after their filing.
Frank Mylar, a Salt Lake City attorney representing the American Leadership Fund and 19 professors, argues that same-sex marriage advocates are trying to make marriage into something it's not.
"For example, a court could determine that orange juice can include juice made solely with potatoes, but it would have created something else by doing so. That marriage is composed of a man and a woman is as inseparable from the word marriage as orange juice is inseparable from oranges," he wrote.
Shelby also wrote in his decision that the purpose and effect of Amendment 3 is to deny the benefits and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples, "which is another way of saying that the law imposes inequality.”
In one brief, three law professors, including BYU's Brent G. Scharffs, attempt to rebut that conclusion, saying it's inaccurate to say voters approved the amendment solely to express moral disapproval of same-sex marriage. The law professors say voters had a variety of motives for favoring the amendment.
"In other words, it is wrong to say that the amendment would not have become law 'but for' the irrational prejudice, animus, of voters," they wrote.
Three Princeton University scholars — Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George — who wrote the book "What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense," center the arguments in their brief on the book's premise that marriage is conjugal union. George is a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board.
"There are excellent reasons to think that marriage is a conjugal relationship — the type of union that only a man and woman can form — rather than just the sort of emotional union that any two (or more) adults can form," they wrote.
The three argue that the "misleadingly" called gay marriage debate is not about homosexuality but marriage.
"It is not about whom to treat as eligible to marry, but about which understanding of the nature of marriage to enshrine legally. It marks a pivotal stage in a decades-long struggle between two views of marriage," they wrote.
* * *
Those filing briefs include:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; National Association of Evangelicals; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Lutheran Mission Synod
American Leadership Fund and 19 professors
Family Research Council
The Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Coalition of African-American Pastors USA, Frederick Douglas Foundation
George Mason University law professor Helen Alvaré
University of Dallas professor David R. Upham
Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
The states of Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina
The state of Michigan
The Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and 27 scholars of federalism and judicial restraint.
Parents and Friends of Ex-gays & Gays
Concerned Women for America
National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality
Dr. Paul McHugh
Princeton University scholars Sherif Gigis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George
Law professors Daniel O. Conkle, Michael Perry and Brett G. Scharffs
Professors Douglas W. Allen, David J. Eggebeen Byron R. Johnson, Catherine R. Pakaluk, Joseph Price and Mark D. Regnerus
Traditional marriage advocates Robert Oscar Lopez, Doug Mainwaring and Alana Newman
Liberty Counsel Inc.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
16 Utah counties, Lynn Wardle
BYU family life professors Alan J. Hawkins and Jason S. Carroll
Colorado lawyer D'Arcy Straub
81 Utah legislators
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fundd
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