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80 Utah Lawmakers Tell Supreme Court Gay Marriage Will Lead To Incestuous Marriage, Polygamy: READ

SupremesEighty legislators from Utah have submitted an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in which the legislators warn the Court that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to the legalization of incestuous and polygamous marriages. The brief comes following the request for a writ of certiorari from both Utah's Attorney General, Sean Reyes, and the plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that found both both a district court and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of marriage equality in Utah. As Joe.My.God points out, "the brief is signed by 22 of the 29 members of the state Senate and by 58 of the 75 members of the state House":

The Tenth Circuit did not adequately consider the consequences of its decision for Utah’s prohibitions of polygamous and incestuous marriages. If the choice of marriage partners is an unlimited fundamental right, Kitchen, 755, F.3d at 1215, and if that marriage choice cannot be denied even when a majority believes that choice to be “immoral,” 755 F.3d at 1217 (quoting Lawrence v. Texas, 593 U.S. 558, 571 (2003)), then the fundamental rights analysis applied by the Tenth Circuit will apply with even greater force to consenting adults desiring polygamous marriage or marriage between at least some close relatives. The prohibition of those marriages has always been grounded in morality. Without a moral justification, courts will be obliged to remove existing marriage prohibitions as the U.S. District Court did last month in Utah. See Brown v. Herbert, 2014 WL 4249865 (D.Utah Aug. 27, 2014. Accordingly, this Court should grant certiorari and reverse the Tenth Circuit’s judgment below.

Read the full brief, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "80 Utah Lawmakers Tell Supreme Court Gay Marriage Will Lead To Incestuous Marriage, Polygamy: READ" »


‘God Loves Gays’ Billboard Goes Up In Westboro Baptist Church’s Hometown: VIDEO

Gays

Last month we told you about the campaign run by the social media persona “God” to erect a “God Loves Gays” billboard in Topeka, Kansas, the hometown of the hate mongering Westboro Baptist Church. The campaign, which sought to raise $50,000 for this project, has been wildly successful, already raising over $80,000. On Monday, God’s billboard went up as promised. Mashable reports: 

Despite his omnipotence, God actually got the idea for the billboard from his social media followers. "One day I asked them, what would you like the LORD to do in the real world? Well, the top suggestion (with over 1,000 ‘likes’) was to put up a billboard in Topeka, Kansas that says ‘God Loves Gays.’ I shared this idea and asked them if I should do it, and the resounding answer was, ‘Yes please, for the love of all that is holy, yes.' “

The additional funds God raised will be used “toward ‘stretch goals’ of buying bus ads, donations to an LGBT suicide prevention organization, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.” The Westboro Baptist Church meanwhile embraced the billboard, attempting to spin the story in their typical hateful way on Twitter and in a written statement:

"Thank God for that lying billboard! Every soul that sees it will either rejoice for the lie and the vain hope of afflicting the servants of God at WBC," Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokesperson for the Church tells Mashable via email. "Or, they will sigh and mourn for that awful sin and all the parts of it, knowing that every single soul that weighed in with money or words, in favor of that lying billboard, will stand before God in the Judgment, so very ashamed. Knowing also, that when they stand before God in the judgment, it will be TOO LATE for repentance, and eternal torment will follow."

Meanwhile, Lamar Advertising, the billboard company who sold the space, had a few reservations about the billboard according to God:

"They seemed a tad nervous," He writes. "Thus far they have only let Me purchase the billboard through March of 2015. I wanted to purchase the full year. I also wanted to investigate other bigger billboards around town. But before they’ll do that the billboard company wants to see if the community accepts it and likes it first.”

Lamar, however, insists, 

“We support the First Amendment right of advertisers and believe that it is in the best interest of our company and the communities we serve to accept advertising copy openly. We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We are firmly committed to our copy acceptance policy.”

Q Salt Lake also reports that should the project reach $100,000 in funding, God will put up another billboard in Provo, Utah. 

You can still contribute to God’s IndieGoGo campaign HERE

And ICYMI, check out the video message from God about his billboard project, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "‘God Loves Gays’ Billboard Goes Up In Westboro Baptist Church’s Hometown: VIDEO" »


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. 


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