LDS Church files ‘friend of the court’ brief to help preserve traditional marriage

Posted at 9:37 PM, Feb 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-10 23:37:40-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The LDS Church files a "friend of the court" briefing with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in its fight to preserve Utah's Amendment 3, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Church is joining other religious organizations in the fight against same-sex marriage in Utah.

"It's perfectly appropriate for anyone interested in the case to file an amicus brief, whether it's organization or an individual," said Professor Clifford Rosky who teaches law at the University of Utah and is also the Board Chair for Equality Utah.

Rosky said in cases of high public interest like Amendment 3 it's not unusual for there to be dozens of amicus briefs filed both for and against the case.

"I disagree with the statements the church made within the brief," Rosky said.

The LDS Church joins the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist convention, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the National Association of Evangelicals in filing as a "friend of the court" and they're not alone.

From the Family Research Council to the Sutherland Institute and 16 counties in Utah, there are dozens who have filed amicus briefs. The religious groups drafted a 42-page legal document, which outlines why they think the ruling overturning amendment 3, should be thrown out.

The brief says in part: "Our faith communities bear no ill will toward same-sex couples, but rather have marriage-affirming religious beliefs that merge with both practical experience and sociological fact to convince us that retaining the husband-wife marriage definition is essential.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children."

"In this case I think the brief largely restates many of the claims made by the state of Utah," Rosky said, who thought citing religious beliefs as a basis for appealing the decision to overturn Utah's law banning same sex marriage won't hold up in court, in his opinion anyway.

"You can't present religious doctrine in a court of law as a justification for Amendment 3. Even though people are entitled to express their religious beliefs about same-sex marriage obviously a court won't be able to uphold Amendment 3 based on religious beliefs," Rosky said.

A group of Utah lawmakers who backed Amendment 3 are also filing an amicus brief.  Gay rights groups like Equality Utah are in the process of filing its own amicus brief. They have until March 4.