Supreme Court Battle Over Marriage Gets Underway

In preparation for oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding two key marriage cases, pro-family groups are filing briefs and making strong arguments in favor of upholding traditional marriage.

Attorneys for The Manhattan Declaration put forth a vigorous defense of marriage in a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief filed in the United States v. Windsor case which will determine whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional. The Manhattan Declaration represents more than 500,000 Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians.

“Natural law, the nature of the human person, and common sense provide ample reason to preserve marriage as it has always been understood,” said John Mauck, a Chicago attorney with the firm Mauck & Baker, who submitted the brief on behalf of the Manhattan Declaration.

The argument develops further by explaining God’s plan for the family and the social pathologies that emerge when the primacy of family and children is subverted. The brief sets out the natural law of the family unit, constitutional authority to establish what is best for the nation, and identifies social reasons to preserve male-female marriage. It thus shows that the historic institution of male-female families allows American children, families, and society to benefit from a firm foundation in the home, thus preserving strong future growth. The brief identifies societal circumstances around the world that have accepted homosexual marriage, resulting in a decline in societal function and a harsh increase in religious oppression.

The Manhattan Declaration reminds the Court of the critical role that believers in Jesus have had in America’s positive social achievement. It recounts advances because of Christianity throughout history saying that, “History confirms that Christians have, precisely because of their faith: defended innocent life; tended to the sick and dying during plagues…; extirpated slavery; tended to the poor and imprisoned…; toiled in the women’s suffrage movement; led the civil rights movement; fought to end human trafficking and sexual slavery; and brought compassionate care to the AIDS sufferers in Africa.”

The brief also refutes the public relations and litigation strategy of advocates of same-sex marriage that seeks to portray Christians and other defenders of marriage as motivated by rank bigotry or irrational animus. These accusations, as explained by Mauck, are not sustainable as a matter of human experience or a fact in society.

The Family Research Council (FRC) and the Thomas More Society (TMS) of Chicago also submitted amicus briefs in both the DOMA case as well as in Hollingsworth v. Perry which will determine whether a voter-approved ballot initiative that amended California’s constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

In a press release, the FRC noted it key role it played in the passage of DOMA in 1996, which is why it takes great interest in any erroneous and misguided challenges to its constitutionality. FRC also believes that Proposition 8’s constitutionality is unassailable.

“The health of our nation’s families determines the strength of our nation. Redefining marriage only undermines the societal purpose of marriage which has always been to build healthy families and provide children with both a mom and a dad,” said FRC president Tony Perkins.

“The Supreme Court must strike down the lower court decisions against the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. DOMA was completely appropriate in 1996, when it passed bipartisanly through Congress and was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. The uniformity in federal law it creates by explicitly confirming that ‘marriage’ would be between one man and one woman for federal purposes ensures equal treatment under law for all Americans. Americans have overwhelmingly decided to uphold this definition of marriage, as a significant majority of states in the U.S. consider marriage to be between one man and one woman.”

He added: ” . . . (W)e believe the people’s vote on Proposition 8 should be respected. It is the constitutional right of the people to create their own state laws where the federal Constitution has not already ruled. Activist courts like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit should not overturn the vote of the people. We hope the Supreme Court will recognize the right of voters to uphold natural marriage as the law of their state.”

The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear two days of oral arguments in the cases during the last week of March.

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