Diverse Coalition Unites to Defend State Marriage Laws

Oklahoma and Utah are the latest states to find themselves in the bull’s eye of court action concerning gay marriage.

Federal court justices have overturned laws, which were passed by the voters, in both states that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The court cases are now before the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

According to an article in the Daily News, diverse groups, including the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina have filed briefs opposing the decision.

“Traditional marriage is too deeply imbedded in our laws, history and traditions for a court to hold that more recent state constitutional enactment of that definition is illegitimate or irrational,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller wrote.

One of the most interesting briefs was filed jointly by lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the US Conference of Catholic bishops and signed by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church-MIssouri Synod.

“Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children,” it says. “We believe that children, families, society and our nation thrive best when husband-wife marriage is upheld and strengthened as a cherished primary social institution.”

Their statement, summarized the Daily News, continues:

The coalition struck back at the notion that opposing gay marriage makes one anti-gay, irrational or bigoted.

“The accusation is false and offensive,” it says. “It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact.”

They say they have no ill will toward same-sex couples, only “marriage-affirming religious beliefs,” supported by sociological facts, saying holding on to the man-woman definition of marriage is essential.

The “friend of the court” brief was one of several submitted Monday by groups, professors and state attorneys general supporting Utah and Oklahoma in their efforts to persuade the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse recent rulings by federal court judges.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/religious-groups-join-forces-gay-marriage-okla-utah-article-1.1609630#ixzz2t2cytFqm

  • oregon nurse

    “The accusation is false and offensive,” it says. “It is intended to
    suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult
    and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact.”

    This is one of the best descriptions I’ve seen in a long time. I see what’s being described over and over in blog discussions on any number of topics. Once the relativist’s intellectual dishonesty is called out and they can no longer stay in the debate through reasoned argument, the name calling and insults and accusations of hatred and bigotry start flowing. It really does get so tiresome.

    • HematitePersuasion

      If rights can be granted and taken away by democratic action, in what sense are they rights? Wouldn’t it make them privileges, instead?

      • oregon nurse

        Agreed. But marriage isn’t a right. It has always been regulated in some way by either government or religion. It has never been an institution open to just anyone so I’m not sure what your point is. If you want to discuss human rights abused by law we can discuss abortion.

        • HematitePersuasion

          Rights are ‘regulated’; the right to free speech in the USA, for example, ends at malicious untruthful speech, or reckless disregard for facts, and a few other exceptions. I’m not sure why the regulation of marriage historically would be relevant in this context, but perhaps you will enlighten me.

          It’s also true marriage as a privilege has historically been a privilege restricted at various times and places to the wealthy, or those in good standing with religious authority, and, for a time in some parts of the USA, those who were not African American (I have a suspicion that American Indians were not permitted to marry, but I may be mistaken).

          Eventually, however, Constitutional jurisprudence and the 14th Amendment were interpreted to mean that the Government could not bestow its privileges in a discriminatory manner; citizens are presumed equal before the law. Thus, the Government cannot single out Catholics (for example), and forbid their marriage.

          Whether this applies to those who have same-sex attractions is certainly a matter for disagreement, but I think it’s worth the time and trouble to identify clearly what the disagreement is. At the very least, we are then able to discuss, rather than talk past one another.

          • Almario Javier

            Correct. I would say that the problem is that American common law has abandoned the anthropological basis for marriage since the 1960s, even before Griswold. Marriage in American law has since then has not had as its object the propagation or fostering of children, but to a large extent has become a contract for certain financial obligations to each other.

          • oregon nurse

            Human Rights belong to all equally, first and foremost. Yes, a person may do something wrong and have their rights restricted. A privilege however, has to be earned in some way and it will apply only to those meeting certain criteria. The very fact that gov. (churches too) requires criteria for marriage and a license means that it is not a right but a privilege much like driving a car. The gov. can also end your marriage through divorce even if you disagree, another feature of a granted privilege.

            • pesq87

              but my right to enter into a marriage is a fundamental right, greatly protected against government prohibition.

              • oregon nurse

                You are misunderstanding the terms. In this country a right is something you are entitled to from the start without condition, it can only be taken away or restricted if you misuse it in some way that harms. Privileges are things that are granted after having met some kind of criteria. You have no right to marriage other than what the gov or a religion grants to you. If something requires a license, or a certificate, or a test, etc. it is a 100% given that it is a privilege.

                That is why I object to legal and moral arguments that call marriage some kind of basic human or Constitutional right because it is anything but. That is an emotional semantic argument meant to manipulate. SSM may get legalized under some kind of anti-discrimination ruling but it is definitely not a right as we understand Constitutional rights.

                • pesq87

                  Oregon Nurse, where in the world are you getting this from? The United States Supreme Court is in the business of, among other things, helping us define and protect what our rights are and what they are not, and they have stated 13 separate times, in 13 separate written decisions since the 1800s that marriage is a fundamental right. When you disagree with them, what are you pointing to as your countervailing authority? I’m truly curious.

                  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                    Damn and blast. I placed my answer in the wrong place. This, of course, is where my answer to the idea of a “right to marry” belongs.

                    • Guest

                      Huh? So its not here, but it should be here. OK, then where is it that it shouldn’t be so that a man can read it?.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  In that case, I want to be pointed at each of these thirteen decisions and have the opportunity to study them, because what you are saying is preposerous on its face. Marriage a human right on the same level as life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness? I am unmarried, not because I chose to, but because some members of the opposite sex refused my suits. Should I be able to sue them for violating my human right to be married? As far as I am concerned, the right to be married is as absurd a notion as the right to win at poker or to be born with blue eyes.

                  • pesq87

                    My bad. 14 times. Not 13. Fourteen.

                    • FW Ken

                      Still trying to peddle Lawrence as a lot marriage, I see. Read carefully, Fabio.

                      Of course, these decisions concerned real marriage between a man and a woman, not new made-up concoction called marriage.

                    • pesq87

                      “[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and education. … Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.” Lawrence v. Texas. Verbatim.

                  • pesq87

                    Fabio,

                    Reread your words. Now, the next time you have the temerity to demand something from me, ask me nicely.

                    1. Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 205, 211 (1888)

                    2. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923)
                    3. Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316
                    U.S. 535, 541 (1942)
                    4. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486
                    (1965)
                    5. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967)
                    6. Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 376, 383
                    (1971)
                    7. Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414
                    U.S. 632, 639-40 (1974
                    8. Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494,
                    499 (1977) (plurality)
                    9. Carey v. Population Services International,
                    431 U.S. 678, 684-85 (1977)
                    10. Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, 384 (1978)
                    11. Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 95 (1987)
                    12. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 851 (1992)
                    13. M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 116 (1996)
                    14. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 574 (2003)

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Thank you. i WILL read these decisions as soon as I have the time, and report on my view of them. Meanwhile, I find the fact that you resented my phrasing rather funny. What is offensive about saying – from personal experience – that the notion of a “right to marry” sounds about as well-founded as that of a “fight to win at poker”. If you are offended at that, you are offended rather easily. And what is wrong with demanding evidence when someone claims to have it?

  • FW Ken

    Since a partnered gay judge in California declared opposition to same-sex marriage bigoted and irrational, and since the SCOTUS let it stand, I suppose it’s now the law of the land.

    • Almario Javier

      Not precisely.

      The Court merely ruled that the respondents had no standing, and that the sole appropriate defendant would be the Government of California. In the eventuality that we were to have an Attorney General willing to enforce Prop 8 and challenge the Ninth Circuit, the case would resume.

      • FW Ken

        That’s correct, although the practical result is the same. BTW, I’ve read that the ruling actually legalized ssm in one jurisdiction of the state. If that’s true… but who needs law when the truth goes marching on.

        • Almario Javier

          Not precisely. The Ninth Circuit extended the ruling to the entire state.

          And I’m going to stick my neck out on this, but the Supreme Court may have been legally correct to deny standing. In the same way that private citizens cannot stand in for the Crown when the latter is sued, the same applies to the State Government, which merely replaces the Queen in our republican system. Now in theory the Government represents the people, but they are not precisely the same thing in a representative democracy. The problem, here, is not the Court, but the Attorney General, who as you have said before, Mr. Barberi, arguably might be derelict in his duty. Alas, that is not a crime in this country. Perhaps if Conley instead of Harris were In the position (the election was surprisingly narrow given the left-wing tilt of the state; may have to do with the fact that the Republican was personally popular in Los Angeles – but that means nothing if San Francisco hates him).

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        In other words, Justice Slimeball decreed (in a ruling that has the force of precedent) that the public have no standing in defending the validity of votes they cast. I’m sure old Joe Stalin in Hell wishes he had thought of that.

        • hamiltonr

          Watch the name calling Fabio. That applies to public officials as well as other bloggers. Otherwise, you have a good point.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            That is my opinion of Justice Walker. Or I might speak of Mr.Injustice, or ask what it is that he walks in. His behaviour was such that even biased liberal journalists could not help but notice it.

            • HematitePersuasion

              It was not Judge Walker who ruled that the appellants had no standing, it was the Supreme Court of the United States.

              Judge Walker ruled on a great many things in that case (the Findings of Fact on which he built his rulings are particularly interesting) — but he permitted the organizers of the referendum to defend the Constitutionality of Proposition Eight in court.

              • FW Ken

                The testimony Judge Walker excluded is also of interest.

        • Bill S

          Fabio,

          If the whole heterosexual electoral vote of a state voted that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman, it is possible that they have voted to deprive the homosexual minority of their Constitutional rights. I personally am not certain that same sex marriage is, in fact, a Constitutional right. The answer to that question is not obtained by putting it to a vote by the public. It is obtained by judicial review, which cannot be influenced by public opinion. So, you can complain about a judge making an unjust decision, but you can’t base that opinion on how the majority of the voters feel. It actually depends more on the intentions of our founding fathers. Knowing what they know today, would they have allowed the states to deny marriage equality?

          • oregon nurse

            “…it is possible that they have voted to deprive the homosexual minority of their Constitutional rights.”

            This whole notion of marriage being some kind of a human ‘right’ is utterly preposterous given the fact that it has been regulated since time immemorial. The fact that courts are even wilIing to hear the matter is an indication of just how off track our courts have become. If the founding fathers thought that protection of anyone’s human rights required a redefinition of marriage they would have dealt with it in the Constitution.

            On the other hand, if this is the road our courts are going to go down and call marriage a right then we need to go ALL the way down that road and allow every form of marriage anyone can come up with as their human right. The favorite question of ssm advocates is always “how does your neighbor’s ssm hurt you?” Well, I counter with “how does the marriage of two sisters or a marriage between a father and a son or marriage between any number of adults related by blood or not hurt you?” By the rationale of ssm advocates there can be no ‘harm’ in any of them.

            And yet, you will have to look long and hard to find the hypocrites of ssm advocacy willing to redefine marriage to that extent because they know all it does is make marriage meaningless. And marriage to a ssm advocate has to have meaning, it has to mean “see, the courts say my ssm marriage is just as normal as all the heterosexual marriages.”

            • pesq87

              Oregon Nurse, I see that you disagree, but please know that the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is a fundamental right on 13 separate occasions going back to the 1800s, Your country protects your right to marry.

        • kenofken

          Stalin was able to do what he did precisely because there was no independent judiciary who had the power to tell him things he didn’t want to hear. Courts have kept public opinion from running roughshod over the rights of gays, but they will also be the main bulwark against the abuses of religious freedoms most of you worry will be perpetrated against Christians in coming years.

          The Prop 8 interveners were denied standing for good reason. Under American law, certainly at the federal level, you only have standing if you have skin in the game, so to speak. A “personal and tangible harm.” You don’t get standing if all you’re doing is seeking to uphold a principle in the abstract. The Prop 8 petitioners could not show that gay marriage would harm them personally in any way, which is also why courts have found their overall cause so unpersuasive in general.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            Tyranny always brings forth rivers of ink to justify it.

  • kenofken

    Windmill, feel the sting of thy lance!


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