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A tribute to County Clerk Kim Davis by David Carroll

Throughout the recorded history of mankind, there is no record of any culture having recognized same-sex marriages. It is astounding that five persons in black robes sitting in Washington D.C. can overturn millennia of marriage customs with the stroke of a pen or with fingers on a keyboard.

Not only do they find same-sex marriage permissible under the United States Constitution, but they impose upon the entire country a mandate based upon the 14th Amendment, adopted nearly 150 years ago primarily to protect former slaves in former Confederate states. No framer ever conceived that the Constitution could be so used to twist the institution of marriage.

I begin with the Bible, but I end with secular law.

For Christians and Jews, the Bible could not be clearer. Homosexual sex is a sin. God destroyedSodom and Gomorrah, which were described in Romans 1:26-27 as steeped in sinful homosexual activity.

In 1 Cor. 6:9, Paul writes: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites … ”

And in 1 Cor. 7:2: “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.”

Still, Paul also said in 1 Cor. 5:9-10 (NKJV):

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.

Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of the world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since you would need to go out of the world.

Paul recognizes that Christians will keep company with the sexually immoral outside the church, because the world is full of the sexually immoral.  Paul does not advocate the persecution of same-sex relationships, but neither does he approve their celebration.

So that is the Bible’s take.  What about secular law?  Here we have five Supreme Court justices creating a right to state licensure of behavior that mankind, over the millennia, has deemed to be sexually immoral.

Which brings us to the case of Kim Davis. Kim Davis is an elected county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. As county clerk, she issues marriage licenses. Her name goes on each license her office issues. When she was elected to the job, Kentucky law authorized marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples: one man, one woman.

On June 26, 2015, five of the nine Supreme Court justices turned the Christian world upside down in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the 14th Amendment requires the states to issue licenses for the marriage of two people of the same sex. The plaintiffs in the case brought suit in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, claiming that those states violated the 14th Amendment by denying homosexuals the right to marry each other or to have their marriages recognized when performed in other states.

Kim Davis was not a party to the Obergefell case, but the state of Kentucky was. The Supreme Court held, “The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.”

Immediately after the Obergefell decision, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said, “Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same-sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky.” The Kentucky legislature has not changed the Kentucky statutes. Nor have the people of Kentucky amended their state constitution, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The Kentucky Constitution’s definition of marriage (passed with 75 percent of the vote in 2004) and the Kentucky statute defining marriage as being between one man and one woman were declared unconstitutional. It seems, therefore, that without an act of the Kentucky legislature, Kentucky has no marriage law for anyone, because its statutes are unconstitutional.  Kim Davis viewed it exactly that way. After the Obergefell decision, she decided that her office would issue no marriage licenses to same-sex couples – or to anyone else.

On July 2, 2015, homosexual activists filed a class action complaint in the Eastern District of Kentucky against Kim Davis to force her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The plaintiffs requested that the court issue a preliminary injunction to force Davis to issue same-sex licenses.

Ms. Davis asserted her right to refuse to issue licenses based upon, among other things, the failure of the Kentucky legislature to act and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Based uponObergefell, the U.S. district judge issued a preliminary injunction ordering Ms. Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When Ms. Davis refused to obey the preliminary injunction, the judge ordered her to jail. The judge released her only after her deputies promised to issue the licenses.

The remaining debate is over whether Ms. Davis, as a matter of conscience, has a right to refuse to issue marriage licenses that approve something the Bible condemns.

On one hand, Ms. Davis is a state official with a duty to follow the law as determined by the courts having jurisdiction, however ill-founded the law is. This side argues that her proper protest would be to resign rather than issue the license.

(In unrelated news, a Muslim flight attendant is fighting on religious-discrimination grounds the termination of her employment, after she refused to serve alcohol to passengers. She was not under a court order, so she is not going to jail, but she is not resigning either. Will there be consistency in the interpretation of religious conscience?)

On the other side of the debate is the duty of every citizen of conscience to disobey tyrannical laws that are offensive to the constitution as it is reasonably interpreted and understood, notwithstanding any twisting of meaning by five black-robed justices. If public officials must resign rather than disobey laws that are wrong, their positions will be filled by people without the conscience necessary to right these wrongs. And with these people in office, the wrongs will stick around.

Before the Civil War, the state of Wisconsin refused to obey the Fugitive Slave Act. Any state officer was barred from assisting federal officials in the return of escaped slaves. More recently, Washington, California, and Colorado are thumbing their noses at federal drug laws relating to marijuana. The states could simply refuse to obey the law and refuse to appear in federal courts on the subject. This is called “nullification” and is a response that the states can and should make to federal overreach.  For more about this strategy, read Nullification by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Alas, according to the polls, it is a losing proposition in our secular culture to protect the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. More than half of all Americans approve of gay marriage. It is likely that the various legislatures and state constitutions would have eventually succumbed even without the Supreme Court, unless there were a serious religious revival in this country.

I salute Kim Davis, not for the rightness of her legal position,  but because she stood up for her Christian beliefs to the extent of being willing to go to jail for them. In the Bible, Daniel refused to worship a statue and got himself thrown into the lion’s den for exercising his religious conscience. The black-robed five have made it perfectly clear that in their brave new world, traditional Christian morality and believing Christians are unwelcome.

ABOUT DAVID CARROLL

David Carroll is an Ohio lawyer who has been practicing for 39 years. His work has included public interest litigation defending Judeo-Christian values, and he has served as chairman of the board for Christian Action Network for over 20 years. Mr. Carroll graduated cum laude from Capital University Law School in Bexley, Ohio in 1976 and has practiced law in Ohio and Arizona.

But, How Did We Come to This Cultural Transformation?

Dr. Judith Reisman, Director of the Liberty Center for Child Protection, is joining pro-family leaders from across the country in opposing the newest fad, experimental “marriage”. The brief filed on behalf of Dr. Reisman and written by Liberty Counsel exposes the 67-year history of the “sexual revolution” spawned by a sexual psychopathic bi-homosexual pederastic sadomasochist, Dr. Alfred Kinsey (source Kinsey Institute). His famous sex “research” claiming 10% to 37% of men were/are homosexual, permeates today’s marriage debate.

Yet his subjects included 1,400 sex offenders, including criminals, pedophiles and pederasts who provided the data base on their sexual abuse of infants and children for Kinsey (source Kinsey Institute).

Thus the current notion that children are unharmed by sex with adults since they are sexual from birth published in Kinsey’s books on sexual behavior in tables below.

kinsey sexual abuse table

Allegedly timing “orgasms” but actually torture, as confirmed by Kinsey descriptions of said “orgasms”. Kinsey’s team continues to tout their finding that children are sexual from birth, proudly displaying a photograph donated to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Dr. Reisman’s brief explains how this data chronicling the abuse of children such as the baby pictured above, and information provided by sex offenders, criminals and prostitutes is the basis for decades of social change, including the present request for the Supreme Court to dismantle natural marriage.

Dr. Reisman and Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel which wrote the brief, explain the genesis of the attack on marriage in a new documentary produced by Janet Porter entitled, “Light Wins: How to Overcome the Criminalization of Christianity.”

Mrs. Porter will be among the pro-family leaders gathering at the Supreme Court on the eve of the Court’s oral arguments on the marriage issue to represent the majority of Americans who want their voices to be heard and respected and the breakdown of the Judeo-Christian foundation of the country to stop.

RELATED ARTICLE: AP Poll: Religious freedom trumps gay rights

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about the cultural impact of Alfred Kinsey click here.

Ryan T. Anderson’s Instant Analysis of Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Case

The Daily Signal caught up with The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson moments after Supreme Court justices concluded oral arguments on same-sex marriage.

Anderson, Heritage’s William E. Simon senior research fellow in American principles and public policy, spent the morning in the courtroom and shared his take with Jamie Jackson on the debate and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s questions.

Jamie_Jackson (1)Jamie Jackson

Jamie Jackson, a former Capitol Hill aide and TV journalist, oversees The Daily Signal’s multimedia and video content. Send an email to Jamie.

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John Zmirak

John Zmirak

John Zmirak is the author of Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians: Hatred of the Gospel is boiling over into the vilification of Christians. State violence won’t be far behind, history teaches.

Zmirak writes:

President Obama, and each of the Clintons, has made a public statement parallel to my own on this volatile topic, so I stand in illustrious company as I say it: I wish to reverse my previous public statements on same-sex marriage.

The progress of law, the statements and actions of gay advocates, and the movement of public opinion have rendered my old views repugnant to me, and I now I offer a full and public retraction. Thanks to the hard work of Apple, Walmart, and the national media, I have changed my mind on same sex marriage.

I now oppose it.

Read more.

Listen to Zmirak explain why he was wrong:

RELATED VIDEO: Hitler Reacts To Denied #GayWeddingCake by Steven Crowder

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By the Power Vested in Us: Confessions of a freedom bride by ALYSON HUDNALL

My fiancé is white. I’m not. We plan to jump the broom this summer, to honor my heritage and the hardships of couples like us. The tradition was born under anti-miscegenation laws that forbade blacks from marrying. And signing an official state marriage license feels inappropriate, considering the racist history behind it.

Anti-miscegenation laws had been a part of US history since colonial America. In the late 1700s, states began increasing their control over marriage by requiring a license. By the 1920s, 30 states had enacted laws that further prevented interracial marriage, including my home state, Virginia, with the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. It wasn’t until 1968 that banning interracial marriage was declared unconstitutional in the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.

Had my partner and I been engaged only 50 years ago, our application for a marriage license would have been rejected. Our only choice would’ve been to jump the broom. Theoretically, our marriage license still could be rejected, because it’s an application process, and all it takes is one bigoted judge to turn it down. And it isn’t just blacks or interracial couples who have been targeted by these invasive institutions.

Opening briefs for same-sex marriage arguments have already been filed with the Supreme Court. For gay rights supporters, the hope is that bans on same-sex marriage will be declared unconstitutional. If this hope is realized, then every state will be forced to recognize heterosexual and homosexual couples equally. However, I’m not convinced this is a step in the right direction.

As it stands, a marriage license is the most effective way for a couple to legally protect themselves. A license comes with over a thousand legal rights, including those relevant to medical emergencies, child custody, and inheritance. It’s important that those rights be respected by every state, but they should also be freely given to consenting adults without constraint. Marriage falls within our right of association, and the state should not be able hold it hostage while ordering you to submit to a blood test or pay a fee. No government agency should be able to reject you unless your marriage falls outside of two simple parameters: consensualand adult. The only “permission” to marry I should need is my partner’s. And now we’re left with an extremely difficult decision.

Do we reject the notion of state-regulated marriage and live as an unrecognized couple, or sign the license and perpetuate conventions we find wholly abhorrent? If we don’t sign the marriage license, we could end up paying lawyers hundreds of dollars to draw up contracts in an attempt to get some of the same rights and recognition as a legally married couple (“some” being the key word here). I don’t like to think about how it will feel to jump the broom in honor of my predecessors and then sign a piece of paper with a legacy of keeping couples like us apart.

ABOUT ALYSON HUDNALL

Alyson Hudnall is a Young Voices Advocate and the founder of Liberty in Color.

Coalition of African-American Pastors: Biased SCOTUS Justices must Recuse Themselves from Same-Sex Marriage Case

Rev. Williams Owens, President and Founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) called on Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Kagan to recuse themselves from the same-sex marriage case to be heard by the Court this session, citing their stated bias. In order to preserve the integrity of the Court, CAAP also announced its intention of launching a petition campaign that would bring attention to the Justice’s lack of impartiality.

The move sprung from public comments made by Justice Ginsburg regarding her conviction that that American public would accept a ruling for same-sex marriage as well as actions by both Ginsburg and Kagan that confirm their biased position on the issue. Both Justices have performed same-sex weddings.

“A Justice of the Supreme Court is called on to avoid the appearance of bias—especially on a highly controversial and sensitive issue that is currently before the Court,” stated Rev. William Owens, President of the Coalition of African American Pastors. “And yet, both Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan have taken a public stance in favor of same-sex marriage, even going so far as to officiate at a same-sex wedding.”

“Not only is this a breach of ethics, but it calls into question the integrity of the Court and the supposed balance that the judicial branch is meant to provide in Constitutional interpretation,” Rev. Owens continued. “It is beyond objectionable that no action has yet been taken to ensure that the case will be adjudicated fairly. And so it falls to us, the people, to take action. CAAP is launching a petition urging Justices Kagan and Ginsburg remove themselves from decision-making on this issue and prevent a crisis brought on by the taint of a biased judiciary.”

“The Court has shown willingness in the past to insert itself in matters that are more properly the domain of the voters,” he said. “For a case that promises to dramatically affect the future of family, religious freedom, and much more, there cannot be any question of political bias on the part of the judges involved. We ask that Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan disqualify themselves from involvement in this case or that the Chief Justice Roberts takes the action needed to protect the integrity of the Court.”

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Former Federal Judge Says: “U.S. Supreme Court Justices who Performed Same Sex Marriages Should Recuse or Be Impeached”

Roy Moore: Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Should Abstain from Gay Marriage Vote

EDITORS NOTE: Reverend Owens noted that members of the public are welcome to sign the petition on the CAAP website at caapusa.org.

Why Not One Governor is Qualified to be President

Our Constitution has become a suicide pact.

That’s the view of Thomas Jefferson, expressed in an 1819 letter to jurist Spencer Roane, when he said “If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se”(suicide pact). The opinion Jefferson referred to is the legitimacy of judicial review, the idea, as he put it, that “gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres.” He warned that accepting such a doctrine makes “the Judiciary a despotic branch” that acts as “an oligarchy.”

That “opinion” has been accepted. The despotism has befallen us. The oligarchy reigns.

In recent times federal judges have ruled that Arizona must provide driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, states such as Utah and Alabama must allow faux marriage, and a Wisconsin voter-identification law is unconstitutional. And these are just a few examples of judicial usurpations that continue unabated and go unanswered. But the answer, which needs to be given first and foremost by governors, is simple:

“No.

No — I will not abide by the court’s unjust ruling. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and, insofar as the central government or judiciary violates it, it renders itself illegitimate. As the governor of my state and head of its executive branch, I am charged with the enforcement of its laws. And we will recognize no more unconstitutional juridical or federal dictates.”

(Note: while my main focus here is our much abused judicial review, I’m advocating the same course with respect to all unconstitutional dictates.)

If this seems radical, note that even Abraham Lincoln agreed, saying in his first inaugural address, “[I]f the policy of the government, upon the vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court…the people will have ceased to be their own masters, having to that extent resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

The process I’m advocating here is known as nullification. And should anyone still think it radical or unprecedented, know that we’d only be taking a leaf out of the Left’s book. Explanation?

What do you think “sanctuary cities” are?

They’re places where liberals have decided they’re simply going to resist federal immigration law.

What do you think is happening when states (e.g., Colorado) and leftist municipalities ignore federal drug laws? Nullification is happening.

Yet no matter how egregious, un-American, unconstitutional and despotic the federal or judicial usurpations, the conservative response is typified by what Utah governor Gary Herbert said — feeling oh-so principled, I’m sure — after the federal faux-marriage ruling: “[U]ltimately we are a nation of laws and we here in Utah will uphold the law.” Yes, we’re supposed to be a nation subject to the rule of law.

Not the rule of lawyers.

And our governors are allowing subjection to the latter, feeling noble playing by rules the Left laughs at.

It’s not surprising that revolutionary spirit has been cornered by liberals. The only consistent definition of “liberal” is “desire to change the status quo” — it is revolutionary by definition. In contrast, the only consistent definition of “conservative” involves something antithetical to revolution: the desire to maintain the status quo. Of course, it completely eludes conservatives that today’s status quo was created by yesterday’s liberals. And one modern status quo is to lose culture-war and political battles to the Left. And, boy, do conservatives ever maintain that one. They’re like a guy who goes into a fight, gets poked in the eyes and kicked in the kneecaps, loses, and then the next time still thinks he’s got to follow Queensbury rules.

We hear a lot of talk about “states’ rights.” Ex-Texas governor Rick Perry was a good example of a big talker. But where’s the beef? Merely flapping lips doesn’t sink big-government ships. There have been nullification efforts by state legislatures, mainly regarding federal gun-control law, and many sheriffs across the country have vowed not to enforce such law. And Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore is currently defying a federal faux-marriage ruling. This is laudable, but why are the chief executives MIA? If only we had a governor with the guts of a good sheriff.

We’re meant to be a nation of states, not a nation state. But rights mean nothing if you’re not eternally vigilant in their defense, if you don’t actively stand against those who would trample them. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder threatened Kansas with legal action over a new anti-federal-gun-control state law. If the courts ruled against the state, what would Governor Sam Brownback do? Make some “principled” comments about the rule of law (lessness) and then assume the prone position?

This is why I say not one governor is truly qualified to be president: If a chief executive will not oppose federal tyranny while the head of a state government, why should we think he’d oppose federal tyranny once head of the federal government?

History teaches that entities don’t willingly relinquish power; it didn’t happen in 1776 and it won’t happen now. People are generally quite zealous about increasing their power, though. This returns us to the courts’ usurpations. Do you know where the power of “judicial review” came from? It was declared in the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision — by the Supreme Court.

That’s right: the Supreme Court gave the Supreme Court the Supreme Court’s despotic power.

Of course, unilateral declarations of power are not at all unusual historically. It’s what happened whenever an agent of tyranny — whether it was a conquering king, communist force or crime syndicate — took over. But these despotisms were enforced, as Mao put it, “through the barrel of a gun.” It wasn’t usually the case that the subjects rolled over like trained dogs lapping up lawyer-craft. Oh, it’s not that I don’t see the crafty lawyers’ position. I might like to crown myself Emperor of America, but, should I insist I possess this unilaterally-declared status with enough conviction, I may get a stay in a mental institution. The courts get to dictate to everyone else and spread insanity all the way around.

Perhaps it needn’t be stated, but the power of judicial review isn’t in the Constitution. So is it any wonder that a federal court, concerned about Barack Obama’s comments relating to the judiciary, asked his administration in 2012 to submit a formal letter indicating whether or not it recognized the power? Judicial review, being an invention, is dependent upon the acquiescence of the other two branches of government.

Oh, and what is Obama’s actual position? He believes in the court’s power — when it serves his agenda. Otherwise, he’s willing to ignore court rulings himself, as he did when suing Texas over voter ID in 2013. (In fact, never mind the courts. Obama ignores duly enacted federal law he doesn’t like.)

The lesson?

We can even learn from Obama.

The idea of judicial review is thoroughly un-American. As Jefferson also pointed out, judges are not morally superior to anyone else, having “with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.” Despite this, he wrote in his letter to Roane, while we’re meant to have “three departments, co-ordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another,” judicial review has given “to one of them alone, the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others”; moreover, he continued, this power was given to the very branch that “is unelected by, and independent of the nation.”  Jefferson then warned that this has made the Constitution “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.” And our country is being twisted along with it as patriots twist in the wind.

Jefferson’s position is just common sense. We cannot be a government of, by and for the people if 9 unelected Americans in black robes can act as an oligarchy and impose their biased vision of the law on 317 million Americans. That is not what the Founding Fathers intended.

Nonetheless, most conservatives are waiting for the next election or the next court ruling or the next president to right the ship, but they and their republic will die waiting when remedial action can be taken now. Nullification — when properly exercised, it’s a fancy way of saying “standing up for the law of the land.” Were I a governor, I’d tell the feds to pound sand and that if they didn’t like it, to send in the troops. I might ultimately end up in federal prison, but I’d light a fire and spark a movement — and become a hero and martyr to millions.

It’s waiting there for you, governors, glory and God’s work. We just need a leader, someone with greater passions for principle than “for party, for power.” It’s waiting.

Rise, American hero, rise.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Did Alabama’s Chief Justice Moore Clean CNN Host’s Clock in Same-Sex Marriage Debate? (ONLINE POLL)

In what CNN billed as an epic “debate,” Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore, gave CNN’s host of “New Day” Chris Cuomo a lesson in the law.

Obviously acting as a stalking horse for the same-sex marriage crowd, Cuomo attempted to embarrass Justice Moore with his questions, but, to his apparent chagrin Justice Moore continued to calmly correct him on the facts and the law.  Realizing he was losing the “debate,” Cuomo kept on changing the questions, and Justice Moore continued to school Cuomo in Constitutional law.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, said, “As the law currently stands, Justice Moore is right.  And I applaud him for his courageous and dignified stand for both the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Alabama.”

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in Epic 25 Minute Interview on Gay Marriage from Thomas More Law Center on Vimeo.


POLL: How do you feel Justice Moore did in the “debate?”

Reply to this e-mail with your thoughts and comments on this video.


To get a full understanding of Justice Moore’s legal reasoning, read the legal memorandum he sent to Alabama Probate Judges, dated February 3, 2015.

This is the legal memo Justice Moore sent to the Probate Judges.

In a letter dated January 27, 2015 to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Justice Moore stated that, “As of this date, 44 federal courts have imposed by judicial fiat same-sex marriages in 21 states of the Union, overturning the express will of the people in those states. If we are to preserve that ‘reverent morality which is our source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement,’ then we must act to oppose such tyranny!”

During the televised interview, Cuomo demanded to know whether Justice Moore would follow a federal court decision that legalized same-sex marriages. However, Cuomo himself refused to answer the question posed to him several times throughout the debate: whether or not he would follow the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision which held that people of African ancestry were not entitled to citizenship or constitutional protections.  Chief Justice Moore makes it clear that according to the US Constitution, the definition of marriage belongs to the states and should be left to the people of each state to decide.

Proving that Justice Moore’s analysis that the original preliminary injunction against the state attorney general was ineffective because he had no jurisdiction over marriages in Alabama, yesterday, the federal district judge allowed plaintiffs to amend their complaint and add probate judge Don Davis as a defendant so that the court’s injunction could temporarily allow gay marriages to take place.

The Thomas More Law Center has launched a national strategy for the protection of traditional marriage headed by TMLC senior trial counsel Erin Mersino. As a part of that strategy, TMLC has submitted numerous amicus briefs in key same-sex marriage cases on behalf of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders. One of the purposes of these briefs is to negate the homosexual community’s fallacious argument that discrimination because of one’s sexual preference is the same as racial discrimination. To date, TMLC has filed four briefs with the Supreme Court, as well as with the 5th and 6th Circuit Courts in support of traditional marriage.

RELATED ARTICLE: Un-Manning Manning

Catholic Bishops file amicus brief in support of Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 29, 2013 filed amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which confirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

DOMA was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996 and defines marriage for federal and inter-state recognition purposes. Proposition 8 is a state constitutional amendment approved by the citizens of California in 2008. Both laws are challenged because they define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman.

Urging the Court to uphold DOMA the USCCB brief in United States v. Windsor says that “there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex.” The brief also states that “as defined by courts ‘sexual orientation’ is not a classification that should trigger heightened scrutiny,” such as race or ethnicity would.

It added that “civil recognition of same-sex relationships is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition—quite the opposite is true. Nor can the treatment of such relationships as marriages be said to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”

USCCB argued that previous Supreme Court decisions “describing marriage as a fundamental right plainly contemplate the union of one man and one woman.”

The USCCB also cautioned that a decision invalidating DOMA “would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.”

In a separate brief filed in Hollingsworth v Perry urging the Court to uphold Proposition 8, the USCCB states that there are many reasons why the state may reasonably support and encourage marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, as distinguished from other relationships. Government support for marriage, so understood, is “recognizing the unique capacity of opposite-sex couples to procreate” and “the unique value to children of being raised by their mother and father together.”

The USCCB brief states that “[T]he People of California could reasonably conclude that a home with a mother and a father is the optimal environment for raising children, an ideal that Proposition 8 encourages and promotes. Given both the unique capacity for reproduction and unique value of homes with a mother and father, it is reasonable for a State to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate interpersonal relationships.”

The USCCB brief adds that “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. Thus, governments may legitimately decide to further the interests of opposite-sex unions only. Similarly, minimum standards of rationality under the Constitution do not require adopting the lower court’s incoherent definition of ‘marriage’ as merely a ‘committed lifelong relationship,’ which is wildly over-inclusive, empties the term of its meaning, and leads to absurd results.”

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, is not an historical relic, but a vital and foundational institution of civil society today,” the USCCB brief states. “The government interests in continuing to encourage and support it are not merely legitimate, but compelling. No other institution joins together persons with the natural ability to have children, to assure that those children are properly cared for. No other institution ensures that children will at least have the opportunity of being raised by their mother and father together. Societal ills that flow from the dissolution of marriage and family would not be addressed—indeed, they would only be aggravated—were the government to fail to reinforce the union of one man and one woman with the unique encouragement and support it deserves.”

The USCCB brief also notes that “Proposition 8 is not rendered invalid because some of its supporters were informed by religious or moral considerations. Many, if not most, of the significant social and political movements in our Nation’s history were based on precisely such considerations.Moreover, the argument to redefine marriage to include the union of persons of the same sex is similarly based on a combination of religious and moral considerations (albeit ones that are, in our view, flawed).As is well established in this Court’s precedent, the coincidence of law and morality, or law and religious teaching, does not detract from the rationality of a law.”

USCCB notes that a judicial decision invalidating Proposition 8’s definition of marriage would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.

“[R]edefining marriage—particularly as a matter of constitutional law, rather than legislative process—not only threatens principles of federalism and separation of powers, but would have a widespread adverse impact on other constitutional rights, such as the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech, and association.Affirmance of the judgment below would create an engine of conflict in this area, embroiling this Court and lower courts in a series of otherwise avoidable disputes—pitting constitutional right squarely against constitutional right—for years to come.