Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In brief(s)

Some of the more interesting amicus briefs in support of the states (respondents) in the marriage cases before the United States Supreme Court. The cornucopia of crackpottery is deep and wide. There are plenty to choose from.

In no particular order:

Lary S. Larson is a Salt Lake City native practicing law in Idaho and, yes, that is the correct spelling of his first name. His argument is that marriage “means having the State ap­ prove and condone a couple’s sexual relationship and lifestyle.” Homosexuality is immoral and the “promotion of moral values in society is a le­gitimate State interest, and the traditional institu­tion of marriage has been a powerful force in that effort. But it is reasonable to believe that allowing same-sex couples to marry would lessen the effective­ness of marriage as a means of promoting moral values.” Apparently same-sex marriage causes more people to be gay.

According to the North Carolina Values Coalition “It is not about who may marry, but what marriage is. When courts mandate marriage redefinition, they disenfranchise the people, shatter the foundations of government, and threaten liberties of speech, thought, and religion. Moreover, no court, legislature, or voter initiative can alter the nature of reality.” All that just because the gay couple down the street gets hitched? Did they reconstruct this argument from an anti-desegregation pamphlet?

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays argues that their brief “confirms the growing recognition of the ex-gay community by the courts, government bodies, and business entities.” Furthermore, “sexual orientation is not immutable — either in the sense that it is a trait determined solely by accident of birth or in the sense that it cannot be changed — but is a fluid, transient, personal characteristic that can and does change.” As proof they offer four stories. One of those is perennial whack job Richard Cohen. Apparently gays cannot marry because there aren't really any gay people or … something like that.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Catholic Conference starts off with the notion that “Marriage is not purely a human institution. It was created in the beginning by God as the intimate union of one man and one woman in ‘one flesh .’” They go on (or off) to explain what really amounts to Catholic marriage and why that means that gays cannot marry. Apparently the establishment clause doesn't mean what it means. A similar brief was also filed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

David A. Robinson is a free lance labor lawyer with a solo practice in Connecticut.  He claims that if the 14th Amendment requires recognition of same-sex marriage then it “may also require a state to license a marriage between a man and post- menopause female blood relative. They are ‘similarly situated’ as a same -sex couple.” He goes on to state that this might also require the recognition of a marriage between two brothers. Honestly, that's what he says. He asks; “How many people will try to marry a blood relative? Does it matter?” and concludes; “The only plausible way to legalize same-sex marriage without legalizing a man’s marrying his brother is to allow each state to decide for itself.” Apparently the requirements for practicing law in Connecticut need to be heightened.

Two anti-gay hate groups; The American College of Pediatricians and Family Watch International are joined by anti-gay academics Loren Marks, Marke Regnerus and Donald Sullins (a Catholic priest). Just to be clear, the American College of Pediatricians has an annual budget of just $67 thousand (2013) compared to the real professional organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics which had a 2014 operating budget of $110 million. Their argument in support of marriage discrimination is that gays make crappy parents. Of course Regnerus' own professional organization concludes; “The clear and consistent social science consensus is that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as children raised by different-sex parents.” They note that this is confirmed by; “Decades of methodologically sound social science research, including multiple nationally representative studies and expert evidence introduced in courts around the country …” What the heck? If the parenting argument didn't work in Windsor, why not trot it out again?

Frank Schubert (NOM's political director) joins National Organization for Marriage in a brief prepared by NOM's chairman, John Eastman as counsel of record. According to these folks, recognition of same-sex marriage “exists nowhere in the text of the Constitution or in the history and traditions of the American people.” You know the rest; Marriage is about cranking our kids; The public is strongly divided; Legalization foments the next Roe v. Wade; and so on. Apparently Windsor never happened and the AP doesn't know how to conduct polls.

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