Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons File 42-Page Brief Supporting Gay Marriage Bans in Utah, Oklahoma

Lutherans, Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals and Southern Baptists have joined together in fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage by submitting a recent court brief to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently considering the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah.

The 42-page brief was filed Monday by lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was signed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

The brief focuses on the religious groups' shared belief that a husband and a wife serve as the ideal situation in which to raise a child. "Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children," the brief reads. "We believe that children, families, society, and our nation thrive best when husband-wife marriage is upheld and strengthened as a cherished, primary social institution."

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It goes on to decry allegations from same-sex marriage advocates that those who oppose gay marriage are "irrational" or "bigoted."

"The accusation is false and offensive. It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact."

"In truth, we support the husband-wife definition of marriage because we believe it is right and good for children, families, and society. Our respective faith traditions teach us that truth. But so do reason, long experience, and social fact," the groups state in the brief.

Currently, Utah is challenging a federal judge's December ruling that determined the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The state filed its opening argument last Monday, also saying that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman for the benefit of children. "The diversity of having both a mom and a dad is the ideal parenting environment," the opening argument reads. "That model is not intended to demean other family structures, any more than giving an A to some students demeans others."

Denver's 10th Circuit is allowing amicus parties to file joint briefs in both the Utah challenge and a similar appeals case from Oklahoma, where a district court judge determined that state's ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional on Jan. 13.

A hearing has been set for a review of Utah's gay marriage ban on April 10, and another hearing for the Oklahoma ban will take place April 17. Reportedly, the 10th Circuit has already received several amicus briefs from professors, state attorneys, and groups supporting the states' positions on upholding their gay marriage bans.

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