LDS Church files SCOTUS brief supporting Prop 8, DOMA

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed a pair of briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to uphold California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The briefs were drafted by lawyers for the LDS Church here in Utah and filed Jan. 29 before the nation’s top court on behalf of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-MIssouri Synod, the Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance of North America, Truth in Action Ministries, and the Mormon Church.

“Our theological perspectives, though often differing, converge to support the proposition that the traditional, opposite-sex definition of marriage in the civil law is not only constitutional but essential to the welfare of families, children, and society,” Von Keetch of the Utah-based firm Kirton McConkie, wrote in the DOMA brief.

In the Proposition 8 briefing, the coalition argues that the Ninth Circuit Court should be reversed. The panel of judges ruled the measure, which banned same-sex marriage in 2008, is unconstitutional.

“The people of California violated no one’s civil rights when they adopted Proposition 8. Their twice-expressed preference for the traditional definition of marriage over an untested rival conception was thoroughly rational. It is therefore thoroughly constitutional,” Keetch wrote in the Prop. 8 brief.

The LDS Church has been the subject of controversy and protest over its involvement in the passage of Prop. 8. It encouraged members to donate time and money to ensure its passage. The backlash was felt nationwide, with protests around Temple Square.

While insisting that it believes marriage is between a man and a woman, the LDS Church has appeared to soften its tone toward the gay community. The church recently launched a website to encourage “greater compassion” toward the LGBT community, and acknowledged that sexuality is not a choice.

The LDS Church’s amicus curiae brief is one of dozens being filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. A number of religious, civic and private organizations are filing “friend of the court” briefs, weighing in on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed.

Most recently, Utah Attorney General John Swallow joined other states in asking the court to uphold Prop. 8 and DOMA. The Utah Pride Center plans to file a brief in support of same-sex marriage.


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