LDS church isn’t filing ‘friend of the court’ brief in gay marriage case yet

Posted at 3:10 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 20:12:34-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is staying out of the Amendment 3 fight for now.

A Church spokeswoman confirmed that the Church is currently not planning on filing an amicus brief in the appeal. Amicus briefs are filed from people or groups with a special interest or strong views on a subject but not directly involved in the case.

With the LDS Church seemingly removing itself from Utah's battle over same-sex marriage, supporters of gay marriage in Utah said this decision could be a sign that the Church is focusing on other priorities.

Vice Chair of the Utah Pride Center's Board of Directors, Kent Frogley, said: "To me it means that they may be beginning to recognize that marriage equality is something that's going to happen and it's really just a question of time not if."

The LDS Church has filed amicus briefs in the past when they asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold California's Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Frogley adds, "I think the Church may realize that amicus briefs and these kinds of statements reflect negatively on the Church, and it hinders its ability to further its mission."

Laura and Chantel Fernandez got married on Dec. 20, the day Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah's Amendment 3. They said the Church's decision against filing such a brief is welcome news.

"Even if it's not the support, right now from them just not making or filing anything against it and just kinda keeping quiet and staying on the sidelines, I think that's good,” Chantel Fernandez said.

A statement from the Sutherland Institute - an organization that's been vocal against same-sex marriage in the state - reads, "The LDS Church stand on same-sex marriage is clear. Sutherland Institute and others will file the necessary briefs. It's the argument, not the entity, that makes the difference."

The LDS Church could still file an amicus brief at a later date. No details were given for this decision from Church leaders.