Liberty Counsel Files Briefs in Support of Utah and Oklahoma Marriage Amendments

Feb 11, 2014

Denver, CO—Late yesterday Liberty Counsel filed two friend of the court briefs in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the court to uphold the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Liberty Counsel submitted its own amicus brief and another one on behalf of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

In 2004 voters in Utah and Oklahoma approved state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Same-sex couples in Utah and Oklahoma challenged the laws in federal court, and on December 20, 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the Utah marriage amendment unconstitutional, and likewise, on January 14, 2014, U.S. District Judge Terence C. Kern ruled the Oklahoma marriage amendment unconstitutional.

“The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nebraska marriage amendment in 2006. This decision defending natural marriage remains the highest federal court ruling with a written opinion on state marriage amendments,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

“All human societies recognize marriage as a social institution based upon the biological and social facts of human sexuality and reproduction, which are what enable society to continue,” Liberty Counsel told the Tenth Circuit. “In other words, marriage, i.e., the union of one man and one woman as defined in the Utah and Colorado amendments at issue here, is the institution upon which the structure of society is built. This court should not permit the foundation, and the orderly conduct of society, to crumble by overturning the definition of marriage.”

“Those seeking to overturn laws such as Utah’s and Colorado’s, that memorialize marriage as the union of one man and one woman, are not trying to engraft another agenda-driven obstacle onto the institution,” said Staver. “Actually, they are seeking more than that. They are seeking to replace the institution with their own agenda-driven proposal.”

“Even in ancient times, including times in which same-sex relationships were acknowledged or condoned, the union of the male and female bodies in marriage was recognized as a unique institution, more than merely a union of wills or emotions. For, while same-sex couples can enter a union of the wills, it is not possible for them to join in body in the way true marriage has always required,” the brief points out. “The state is merely protecting those people and institutions affected by the union of one man and one woman. It is not creating and cannot create or, as some seek here, re-create the union. The union was created when human beings were created as males and females, who in coming together naturally create new human beings and thereby perpetuate the race,” Liberty Counsel told the court.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.


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