Wednesday, March 06, 2013
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Files Brief in Supreme Court DOMA Case

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Files Brief in Supreme Court DOMA Case

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund recently filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to declare the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, unconstitutional.

The amicus brief by the LDF argues that DOMA treats homosexuals unequally because it prohibits same-sex couples from receiving the same marital benefits as heterosexual couples, such as joint tax returns or health care benefits.

"DOMA's denial of marital benefits under federal law to gays and lesbians subordinates them within the institution of marriage. And like early laws that were designed to oppress African Americans, DOMA relegates gays and lesbians to an unequal and inferior status as a group," the brief states.

"Of course, the nature of discrimination against gays and lesbians differs fundamentally from de jure racial segregation, just as racial discrimination differs from discrimination based on sex and other suspect classifications to which heightened scrutiny applies," the brief continues.

"But DOMA and other laws that purposefully infringe on the rights of gay people are analogous to the racial caste system effectuated under 'separate but equal' in an important respect: they create and perpetuate a social hierarchy that is premised on the superiority of one group over another."

The LDF organization, which is separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights groups, alsofiled a joint amicus brief in the Supreme Court case regarding California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.

Although this recent brief does bridge a connection between same-sex marriage and racial segregation, the African-American community has long taken issue with America's gay community calling same-sex marriage a "civil rights issue," arguing that it is fundamentally different.

For example, in 2012, messengers for the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, went on record to clarify that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue.

The resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention sought to denounce "the effort to legalize 'same-sex marriage' as a civil rights issue since homosexuality does not qualify as a class meriting special protections, like race and gender," The Christian Post previously reported.

Additionally, pro-traditional marriage advocate Maggie Gallagher previously told The Christian Post that mixing same-sex marriage with civil rights proves to be a dangerous concoction that results in the mischaracterization of those opposed to same-sex marriage as being bigots.

"Gay marriage elites are saying there is no possible reason to oppose gay marriage except bigotry, and that opposition to gay marriage is like opposition to interracial marriage," Gallagher previously told The Christian Post in an email.

In spite of this LDF amicus brief, the NAACP's official support of same-sex marriage in July, and President Barack Obama's advocacy of same-sex marriage at his January inauguration ceremony, many African Americans have spoken out against gay couples marrying.

In July 2012, the Rev. William Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, launched a campaign protesting President Obama and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Additionally, the Coalition of African-American pastors also urged the NAACP to reverse its support for same-sex marriage.

"The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People needs to be recalled to its founding purpose," said Owens in a statement.

"Black people face acute and urgent needs, from unemployment to education, family fragmentation, discrimination and crime," he continued.

"We are calling on the NAACP, a beloved organization in our eyes, to reclaim its mission. The Black church founded the NAACP, and it is not the organization for the advancement of gays and lesbians–whatever the merits of that movement. Return to your roots and stand with the Black Church on marriage. The Black Church in our eyes remains the conscience of America," Owens added.

"To the board of NAACP we say, 'Do not worry about the money, God will provide.' Stand with the Church and the Bible and the natural law, as our brother with whom we marched, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., called on us to do," the reverend added.

In March, the Supreme Court will hear cases contesting the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 as well as the that of DOMA.


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