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Anti-gay Evangelicals File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Uphold Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Temple

The group of five prominent, anti-gay religious organizations have joined together in a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to take up Utah's same-sex marriage case and uphold a state's right to deny gay couples the freedom to marry. 

The five organizations are:

  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • National Association of Evangelicals
  • The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod

The brief states, in part:

Marriage between a man and a woman is for us an article of faith and a profound social good. Our understanding of God’s law, fortified by experience, confirms the centrality of marriage between aman and a woman as a foundational institution for protecting children and sustaining the American scheme of ordered liberty. And our understanding of the limits of judicial authority under the Fourteenth Amendment leads us to conclude that laws reaffirming that ancient yet vibrant understanding are constitutional. [...]

And because marriage is not just a legal status but also a proxy for social and legal legitimacy, corollary issues are arising with increasing intensity. Will sexual orientation be recognized as the basis for a new suspect class akin to race, thus providing government with purportedly compelling reasons to override long-standing religious freedoms? If so, what statutory protections and exemptions should religious organizations seek to ensure their independence from State control and guard against retaliation? What exactly are the rights of organizations and individuals with sincerely-held religious objections to participating in, facilitating, or recognizing same-sex marriage?

Check out the brief in full AFTER THE JUMP to see all the other bigoted reasons for denying LGBT people equal treatment under the law...

Continue reading "Anti-gay Evangelicals File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Uphold Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban" »


Plaintiffs in Oklahoma and Virginia Gay Marriage Cases Ask Supreme Court to Weigh In

Earlier this week, we reported that  plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

ScotusNow, the plaintiffs challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Virginia have similarly followed suit and asked the highest court in the land to review their cases as well, The Advocate reports:

When the justices return from vacation in late September, they'll likely find unanimous agreement from all parties that they should consider a marriage equality case. But which cases the court will pick remains in question.

It's worth noting that the cases would have reached the Supreme Court even if the plaintiffs hadn't filed their petitions. The defendants in the cases — attorneys representing the states — have filed petitions as well.

Previously, the same-sex couples serving as plaintiffs in all three states won major victories at the district court and appellate level. UtahOklahoma, and Virginia all enjoyed an unbroken string of victories for the freedom to marry. Ordinarily, the victorious side would oppose a rehearing, as it runs the risk of overturning the decision. But the motivation behind the plaintiffs' briefs boils down to their desire to expand their victories nationwide.

The court has the option of taking up one case, multiple cases, or none at all and could defer a decision until next June. 


Plaintiffs Challenging Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Ask Supreme Court to Weigh in on Fundamental Right to Marry

As expected, the plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Scotus"Today, our nation’s same-sex couples and their children live in a country where they may be denied legal recognition as a family or may find their marriages invalidated simply by virtue of crossing a state line," according to the brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Utah’s request that the court hear its case.

"This court should grant the petition and hold that denying same-sex couples the fundamental freedom to marry and to have their marriages recognized violates our nation’s cherished and essential constitutional guarantees."

Said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter:

“Same-sex couples experience real hardships as a result of being denied the freedom to marry and to have their marriages respected wherever they travel or live. In the past year, more than 30 state and federal courts have ruled that state laws barring same-sex couples from marriage are unconstitutional. We hope the Supreme Court will consider this issue in its next term and will concur that same-sex couples and their children are an integral part of our nation’s fabric and must be given the same protection and respect as other families.”    

Earlier this month, Utah became the first state to appeal a ruling striking down a state ban on gay marriage to the Supreme Court. The Utah government, led by Attorney General Sean Reyes, is arguing that states have a right to continue defining marriage as they see fit and has pledged to "spend whatever it takes" to keep the ban in place.  

This week, it was announced that head civil rights lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Mary Bonauto would be joining the legal team challenging Utah's same-sex marriage ban. 

Read the brief below:

Plaintiffs' Response Brief via Equality Case Files


DOMA Lawyer Mary Bonauto Joins Fight Against Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Mary

Top civil rights lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Mary Bonauto will be joining the legal team challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, according to BuzzFeed.

Bonauto is perhaps the preeminent civil rights attorney in the United States where same-sex marriage is concerned. In a New York Times profile last year, Roberta Kaplan remarked, “No gay person in this country would be married without Mary Bonauto.” Bonauto argued against and defeated the state of Massachussetts’ ban on same-sex marriage in 2003--the first state in which such a ban was brought down--and also served on Edie Windsor's legal team in last year’s seminal Supreme Court decision that gutted section 3 of DOMA. Said Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson of Bonauto's contributions, 

“Not only did GLAD lead in teeing up the litigation strategy that brought down DOMA, but Mary was the unsung engine of the friend-of-the-court presentations made to the Supreme Court in both marriage cases last year."

Bonauto and GLAD's expertise will be of particular use in the Utah case:

“GLAD brings the perspective, insights, and distillation that come from long experience on marriage and the related issues, and the good sense to take nothing for granted,” Bonauto said. “We’ve also won this issue in courts, and worked with others to win in state legislatures and at the ballot box. That has given us a deep feel for the concerns and hesitations out there and insights about how to make our case and find shared values that move us forward.”

Specifically as to the DOMA litigation, she added, “We hope that the strategic thinking on DOMA — about how to get to a win on DOMA that would also position us to keep moving forward to marriage — will be useful here as well.”

The case against Utah is noteworthy, and likely drew Bonauto and GLAD's attention, because both the plaintiffs and the defendant (the state) have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and take up the matter. The result of which could be a far-reaching ruling that could make marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states. 


10th Circuit Grants Utah Extension To File Appeal Of Gay Marriage Ruling: VIDEO

Utah

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request by the state of Utah to extend its deadline for filing an appeal in a case challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to KSL Utah. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes filed the request to extend the deadline to October 22, arguing the state needed the additional time because "the case is 'factually and legally complex' and that the attorneys on the case already have a busy workload." The ACLU, which represents the couples who sued the state for the right to marry, has said that the state had plenty of time to prepare its appeal, arguing further that delays "cause the plaintiffs financial and emotional stress." Meanwhile, the state claims "it has never disputed that the couples 'genuinely feel subjected to hardship' but that their attorneys haven't acknowledged the "equally true proposition" that Utah is harmed by not being able to enforce its laws."

Gay couples in Utah began to marry after Federal Judge Dale Kimball ruled in December of last year that Utah's gay marriage ban "[denied] its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean[ed] the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason." The 10th Circuit then upheld Kimball's ruling but the decision was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court until Utah could appeal the circuit court's ruling. 

Watch a news report on the 10th Circuit's latest decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "10th Circuit Grants Utah Extension To File Appeal Of Gay Marriage Ruling: VIDEO" »


Brigham Young University Pulls Hallmark Same-Sex Wedding Cards

CardSame-sex wedding greeting cards have been removed from the Brigham Young University (BYU) bookstore in Provo, Utah, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

BYU is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

The Hallmark cards reading "Mr. and Mr." and "Mrs. and Mrs." were removed when bookstore staff discovered them after photos surfaced online. According to BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins, Hallmark stocked the shelves without realizing the school wouldn’t want to sell the cards celebrating same-sex marriages.

Explaining why the cards were removed, Jenkins cited BYU’s honor code which states "homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

Although the university does not intend to end its contract with Hallmark, staff have asked the company to not leave similar cards in the bookshop in the future.

Last month we reported that John Dehlin, a Mormon advocate of LGBT rights, was facing excommunication from the church.


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