Lower Court Rulings Striking Down California's Prop 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act Rest on Faulty Logic, Brief Says
Contact: Dave Mohel, 703-347-9454
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Lower courts have misapplied the central finding in a previous case in their rulings against a federal law and a California constitutional amendment that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, a brief filed on Tuesday by the American Civil Rights Union argues.
Noting that the earlier opinions rely heavily on the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state anti-sodomy laws, the ACRU brief, written by General Counsel Peter Ferrara, gives three reasons why that case does not apply to either the California Prop 8 case or the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
"First, Lawrence was a privacy and liberty case, which is why Lawrence itself said that its holding and reasoning did not involve the issue whether government must redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships. The redefinition of marriage involves public recognition of a relationship -- not privacy or liberty. This case involves no governmental infringement on plaintiffs' constitutional privacy or liberty rights. The traditional definition of marriage does not limit personal autonomy, and it does not prevent citizens from defining or living according to their own individual concepts of existence.
"Second, even when the Constitution prevents governments from prohibiting certain conduct, it does not require them to promote or facilitate it....
"Third, the traditional definition of marriage has existed throughout the world for centuries and has been reaffirmed by a substantial majority of States and the Federal Government. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997), is therefore a better analog to this case than Lawrence. As in Glucksberg, this Court should allow the States and Congress to continue the ongoing democratic debate over the wisdom of extending marriage to same-sex relationships, instead of interpreting the Constitution to mandate a definition of marriage that lacks any support in our nation's history, traditions, or practices and that tens of millions of Americans fundamentally oppose."
Susan Carleson, ACRU's CEO, said, "The Supreme Court has an opportunity to correct two wrongs. The people of California voted to amend their Constitution to protect marriage and saw activist courts sweep that away. And the U.S. Justice Department under Eric Holder, Jr. has not only failed to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it has actively worked to have it struck down. This has been liberal legal activism at its worst. The Supreme Court can and should uphold Americans' constitutional right to self-government."
The combined cases are Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8) and United States v. Edith Windsor (DOMA).