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More, more, more amicus

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2010

Three more amicus briefs were filed today in addition to those of Ed Whelan and Liberty Counsel.

The American Center for Law and Justice (Jay Sekulow) wrote:


The Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558(2003), did not abolish the legitimacy of morality as a state interest. Indeed, to have done so would have been both revolutionary and destructive, as morality has long been recognized as a basis for law, and countless laws today rest upon morality. The district court therefore erred in dismissing moral considerations out of hand.

Something called The Hausvater Project, which appears to be related to the parochial schools of the conservative Lutheran Church Missouri Synod filed to support “the right of parents to determine their children’s education”. This one flummoxed me; I have no idea what they are talking about.

Parents have a fundamental right to determine their children’s education, protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause. California citizens voting in favor of Prop. 8 (“Prop. 8 Supporters”) had, and on their behalf the defendant-intervenors-appellants (“Prop. 8 Proponents”) in this case continue to have, good reason to regard Prop. 8 as a safeguard of that fundamental constitutional right. Since the safeguarding of a constitutional right properly serves the state’s interest, the district court erred in concluding that Prop. 8 serves no legitimate or compelling state interest. Moreover, parents’ fundamental right to determine their children’s education should take priority over the competing claims of plaintiffs-appellees Kristin Perry et al./same-sex couples (“Prop. 8 Opponents”) who plea for Equal Protection and Due Process rights to same-sex marriage.

It seems that they are arguing that because the Proposition 8 campaign played on the fears of parents (“I learned in class that a prince could marry another prince, and I can marry a princess!”) that therefore it is based in the constitutional right of parents to make sure that public schools condemn the things which they condemn. Or something like that.

Which is an odd argument coming from an organization of parochial schools.

The second part of their argument was that allowing gay people to marry would have a “chilling impact” on the religious freedoms of those who want to stop them. If governments actually treat gay people as full citizens and if schools refer to them as such, then it greatly reduces the impact of those who preach from pulpits that they are not.

Far from furthering a state interest, such religious organizations would be in opposition to a state interest, at least insofar as one accepts the district court’s own identifications of the state’s interest and the religious groups’ motivations. This is not small potatoes.

And if Judge Walker’s decision is left intact it would lead to “nothing short of the abolition of parochial schools and homeschooling.” And then they really go bat-poop crazy. It’s all a plan on the part of the homosexuals to destroy family and society; first they redefine marriage and then they’ll take away our children.

A tremendous burden falls now to this court as to whether those asserting the freedom to chose a spouse of the same sex can secure that socially constructed status apart from denying, with increasing tenacity, the fundamental right of a man and a woman to direct the education of the children whom nature calls their own. The social engineers of incremental strategies favoring same-sex marriage have themselves answered the question in the negative. Whatever disappointment a reversal of the district court’s decision may bring to the particular homosexual couples who originated the complaint, at least they will be liberated from serving as pawns in a larger scheme that ultimately would constrain not only their neighbors’ liberties, but also their own.

And finally we have the amicus brief of

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The California Catholic Conference
The National Association of Evangelicals
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons)
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Calvary Chapel Fellowship of Ministries of California
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.
The Council of Korean Churches in Southern California
Southern California Korean Ministers Association
Holy Movement for America

Believe me, other than all being in the broad category of “Christian” and being devoted to the condemnation of gay people and bringing harm to their lives, these folks have nothing in common. It takes a powerful amount of joint purpose, in this case their religious-based animus towards gay people, to get them in the same room.

And I do find it interesting just who is not present in this joint statement. This, more than most any other document, draws the line between combatants over the religious direction of the nation.

We write separately to answer the district court’s distortion and condemnation of our beliefs as irrational and illegitimate and to defend the constitutional right of citizens and associations of faith to participate fully in the democratic process. Contrary to the aspersions cast by the decision below, our beliefs about marriage are not based on hatred or bigotry. Our support for traditional marriage has vastly more to do with a rich tapestry of affirmative teachings about marriage and family than with doctrines directed at the issue of homosexuality. To be sure, our religious beliefs hold that all sexual acts outside traditional marriage are contrary to God’s will. But our faiths also entreat us to love and embrace those who reject our beliefs, not to hate or mistreat them. Bigotry is contrary to our most basic religious convictions.

A bit ironic when you consider that the purpose of this brief is not to love and embrace those who reject their beliefs, but rather to force by law those beliefs which they cannot persuade through preaching.

Faith communities and religious organizations have a long and vibrant history of upholding marriage as the union of a man and a woman for reasons that have little or nothing to do with homosexuality. Indeed, their support for traditional marriage precedes by centuries the very notion of homosexuality as a recognized sexual orientation (see ER106), not to mention the recent movement for same-sex marriage. Many of this nation’s prominent faith traditions have rich religious narratives that describe and extol the personal, familial, and social virtues of traditional marriage while mentioning homosexuality barely, if at all.

Except, of course, that every single denomination listed decries homosexuality as sinful, rebellious, or evil. Without exception.

The gist of their argument is that it is unfair of Judge Walker to take a side in the religious culture war, that they have the right to try and vote their religious beliefs into law, and besides they loooooove the homosexual, they just want to grant special privilege to those who follow their beliefs.



Jim Burroway
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

Is that amicus or animus?

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

I bless the day I stumbled upon BTB. In my next life I’m naming my firstborn twins Timothy and Jim, even if they’re girls.

I swear we were separated at birth.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

Interesting that the ayatollahs of the Southern Baptist have again gotten into bed with the Whore of Babylon. Apparently hate really does trump dogma.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

The x-tian taliban strikes again. All it takes for them to win is for reasonable people to do nothing. The resistance is strong though and you are winning. If it all goes pear-shaped though we welcome you to Canada. Bring a sweater.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

I was going to ask the same thing as Jim. They should all be properly named animus briefs.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

“animus briefs” — my thoughts exactly

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

These briefs almost seem as if deliberately written to help our side, by demonstrating the animosity and vindictiveness behind prop 8.

Certainly, they would also be useful evidence that prop 8 violates the 1st amendment by establishing a particular religious belief as civil law.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

The second part of their argument was that allowing gay people to marry would have a “chilling impact” on the religious freedoms of those who want to stop them.

Jee. zuz. *smacks forehead*

John S
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

Isn’t funny that they just cant give it up.
The plaintive’s in this case put forth
an incredible argument against 8.

If for no other reason the idea that more of us would be married and in a stable relationship, rather than aimlessly wondering around in clubs and parks looking for love, exposing our selves to God knows what, would in it self be enough.

It sure is a more creditable argument than the fish stories their coming up with.
All in all, this is a fund raising ploy to cheat their gullible members out of even more thousands of dollars.

September 24th, 2010 | LINK

Does anyone have .pdfs of these files – I couldn’t find any?

I just read through Robbie P George’s brief, and I think I can show that it is okay for the people of California to make a horse a Senator, so long as there is some theoretical argument that it is “moral”, whether or not a single voter had that intent when enacting a law to do so…

September 25th, 2010 | LINK

12 Religiopus groups. Catholic and Evangelical.

Let’s see if Religion will be allowed to set Legal Precedent here.

Ben in Oakland
September 25th, 2010 | LINK

I think this is great. they are making the case that this is nothing morethan discirimination on the basis of rleigious belief.

Go for it.

September 25th, 2010 | LINK

It’s all a plan on the part of the homosexuals to destroy family and society; first they redefine marriage and then they’ll take away our children.

Actually, I believe the state has a legitimate and compelling interest in how children are raised.

Children deserve to grow up in a safe, loving and accepting environment and be raised by competent and enlightened adults. Simply put: parenthood is NOT a right; it’s a privilege, one that must be earned, and I’m afraid not everyone qualifies.

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming a**hole be a father.

— “Parenthood”

Ben in Oakland
September 25th, 2010 | LINK

“Simply put: parenthood is NOT a right; it’s a privilege, one that must be earned, and I’m afraid not everyone qualifies.”

Actually, it is neither a right nor a privilege. Heterosexuals often pop out children for no other reason than this:

They can.

September 25th, 2010 | LINK

Jim, you beat me to it. I was going to point out how these “animus” briefs are going to STRENGTHEN Walker’s case that opposition is 100% based upon animus toward gay people and their families.

I hope more of these briefs are submitted. Each and every one makes out case more and more clear. There can be no doubt that we are the victims of civil discrimination based on religious persecution, as in persecution from religious people and institutions.

B John
September 25th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve previously noted these are just raw meat for their contributors. Someone here made a similar comment.

I’m not attorney, but my understanding is that amicus briefs generally have little impact on the appellate courts, and are rarely given any consideration unless they offer some novel (and relevant) insight into the case at hand.

We certainly haven’t seen any of that here, and I think the more of these filed the stronger is Walker’s finding there was animus, but I think it helps call attention, in a good way, to the issue. There are plenty of people in America who really don’t care because they feel it doesn’t affect them, but when these groups go this far over the top, some of those people even start getting offended (and if part of one of the groups, sometimes even embarrassed). So they often start realizing it’s time to do something.

So I say, keep them coming.

Jason D
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

I really don’t get it.

It’s a safe bet that these folks belong to sects of Christianity that also believe that drinking (legal, with age restrictions) and premarital sex (legal, with age restrictions) are wrong as well.

So sooner or later they’re going to have to have a talk with their precious, precious children about the difference between God’s Laws and Man’s Laws — just as Hebrews have to have this chat regarding Ham & Cheese sandwhiches and Hindus have to have this talk regarding eating meat.

I don’t see why all things LGBT can’t be added to the list of Things Our Religion Says Is Wrong, But The Government Doesn’t. Their religious rights aren’t violated by the sale of Budweiser or the reality of singles having sex, why would another “sin” being legal suddenly cross the line?

Oh right, these folks think they have an exception to the establishment clause in their back pocket.

Regan DuCasse
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

Their complaints, the impetus of their briefs…is the inference that gay people are an inferior, threatening presence, INCAPABLE of making a contribution to the welfare of anyone.

That IS animus, despite all proof to the contrary.

And they are forgetting that schools, especially public schools, cannot engage in non scientific, and prejudice inducing education.
They ARE obligated to teach facts, and give children opportunity to be prepared for each and every social encounter.

So NO, parents cannot dictate the curriculum and terms of how and what a child is taught. Because the child’s NEEDS can well outweigh what the parents are willing or capable of meeting.
The historical and socio/political context of discrimination and prejudice and it’s consequences ALSO dictate the terms of workable and effective curriculums.
If these same parents wouldn’t want their children taught about Jews and being Jewish from non Jewish anti Semitic information, than the same holds true for other minorities that have historically and traditionally been maligned.
These people are assuming that what’s said about and done to gay people is right and justified.

THAT is something else proven in court to be wrongful and dangerous.

I have often suggested to parents, AND school boards, that they should require parents to attend classes as well on the FACTS regarding the sociology and context of things to do with sexuality, and discriminatory practices and their effects on others throughout American history.
This should be a requirement. No opting out, if you want your child to be in public school.
And they can go the home school route and turn out children without a clue if they want to.

I say if they want the curriculum to go THEIR way, then they can keep their little darlings at home.
Something they should be told too, that segregationists and any other prejudiced political groups suggested.

It should also be pointed out to them, just how selective and inconsistent this religious objection is regarding gay people and homosexuality.
All manner of religious directives that inconvenience all these people isn’t enforced against heterosexuals.
So they’d also have to explain to children why that is.

It’s not gay people and learning about them that confuses children.
It’s teaching children that gay people are a problem, then having their children learn the contrary. Children are confused by hypocrisy and lying to them.
And no school can participate in that either.

Rob San Diego
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

Where are all the amicus briefs from the churches and organizations who ARE for marriage equality?

I love how the government says that marriage is a religious institution and yet when there is a church or religious group who wants to have marriage equality, they are then told no that is is against the law.

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