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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 5
Defending inequality - Anti-Gay briefs filed in SCOTUS marriage cases
Section One
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Defending inequality - Anti-Gay briefs filed in SCOTUS marriage cases

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

'Everybody wants ta get inta the act!' as Jimmy Durante used to say.

On January 30, a number of anti-Gay groups filed amicus briefs in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases before the Supreme Court. While none of the groups are parties to either case, the briefs are designed to express the views of the filers, and - they hope - to influence the court's decision.

One of the organizations filing briefs is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and several others are associated with or funded by the Catholic Church.

The bishops argued that 'there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex,' and therefore 'sexual orientation' is not a classification that should trigger heightened scrutiny,' as race or ethnicity would.

The bishops added that the government can legitimately decide to support only opposite-sex marriages.

'While this Court has held that laws forbidding private, consensual, homosexual conduct between adults lack a rational basis, it does not follow that the government has a constitutional duty to encourage or endorse such conduct,' the bishops' brief said. 'Thus, governments may legitimately decide to further the interests of opposite-sex unions only.'

DON'T FORGET JESUS
A group called Catholics for the Common Good said that in voting for Prop 8, California's citizens 'voted to reaffirm the unique biological and cultural status of the only civil institution that unites male-female couples with each other and any children that might be born from their union ...'

They joined the Catholic bishops in claiming that laws discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation should not be subject to heightened scrutiny.

'Unlike the 'socially constructed' classifications that the Court now rightly views with suspicion, such as race, illegitimacy, and alienage, 'physical differences between men and women ... are enduring' and a 'cause for celebration,' they said in their summation.

The Manhattan Declaration, a Catholic-inspired group that urges public officials to disobey pro-Gay and pro-choice laws, filed a brief 'remind[ing] the Court of the critical role believers in Jesus have had in America's positive social achievement.'

WESTBORO WEIGHS IN
Not all the amicus briefs were filed by Catholics, however. Gay neocons David Benkof, Doug Mainwaring, and Robert Oscar Lopez filed a joint brief arguing that 'children have a right to a mother and a father; marriage is society's institutional expression of that right.'

'There is a deep wisdom in our marriage tradition ...' they continue. 'Gay marriage, in particular 'marriage equality,' will repudiate the wisdom of this tradition, putting government in the position of stating an untruth: unions of two men or two women are just the same as unions of husband and wife, especially when it comes to children.'

Even the notorious Westboro Baptist Church filed a brief, liberally sprinkled with citations from Bible passages, rather than legal precedents.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v, Perry, on March 26, and on the DOMA case, Windsor v. U.S.A., the next day. It is not expected to issue a ruling until June.

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