LDS Church plans to file ‘friend of the court’ brief in Amendment 3 case

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints signaled its intentions to file a "friend of the court" brief in the appeal of Amendment 3.

Alexander Dushku, an attorney for the firm Kirton-McConkie, filed a notice of appearance Friday afternoon with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The undersigned attorney(s) hereby appears as counsel for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; National Association of Evangelicals; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Amici Curiae, in the subject case," the filing states.

Read the filing here.

In comments to FOX 13 on January 9, an LDS Church spokeswoman said they were "not currently planning" to get involved in the Amendment 3 case. That has apparently changed by the notice filed with the federal appeals court.

The LDS Church came under heavy criticism for its involvement in California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state. It was overturned by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.

On Dec. 20, 2013, a federal judge in Salt Lake City declared Utah's Amendment 3 -- which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and doesn't recognize anything else -- unconstitutional. After that ruling, more than 1,300 same-sex couples wed in Utah until the U.S. Supreme Court halted it pending the appeal.

Late Friday, members of the Utah State Legislature announced their intentions to weigh in on the Amendment 3 case. They included: Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper; Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield; Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville;  Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, and "additional Utah state legislators to be named in the brief."

Read the legislators' notice of amicus filing here.

Also filing notice of amicus briefs: the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute, the Eagle Forum, the Concerned Women for America, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The amicus briefs are due Monday.

106 comments

  • Caustic

    Sure post your brief but can we abide by SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Your God doesn’t like it, mine is more kind and doesn’t care what two consenting adults do. Who are they hurting? IMHO? Not a single person. It’s the “God says” laws that are hurting them.

    I love it when people use religion as an excuse for their behavior. I do what I do because the Easter Bunny told me to or was it Santa Claus.

    I love the state having to spend my tax dollars to fight something they shouldn’t be fighting.

    Yep YER IN UTAH!

    • Eric Anderson

      I agree. Religious people should be silenced. Their opinions have no place in the public debate.

      Why can’t people read the Constitution? It says “SEPARATION” in big, bold letters.

      • Lapitup

        Eric: I Hate to be the one to tell this to you friend. But… Separation of church and state is not in the constitution. In fact the amendment you are talking about starts out like this

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”

        I got that right off wiki. I understand you don’t know the constitution but no excuse for not wiki-ing it…

      • Jim

        Eric, the constitution rejects the establishment of a state church in which the sovereign is the head to which the citizens are obligated, like the church of England. It in no way decrees that religion and religious bodies are to be silent in the face of public policy or discourse, that is a creation of modern times and it is a sign on pure historical illiteracy.

    • Tresa Crawford

      Obviously u believe in a different God than I do. I believe in the one, and only true God. Their is only on book as far as I am concerned also, and the Bible is the word of God. You can’t put words in the mouth of the one true God. One man, one woman! God does not bend the truth, like most people do on this Earth. You can believe what u want to, but when push comes to shove, u will need to tell it to your maker on judgement day. Just sayin!

      • Oh Bite Me

        Ah the old “I believe in the one, and only true God” Argument. So everyone of a different belief is wrong? Only your belief is correct?If you take everything literally out of the bible (not pick and choose) what is the word of God,and what is a sin.(like the Taliban dose with the Koran)You would have more then likely been stoned to death for wearing mixed linens,or disrespecting one of your parents at one time in your life. Would it be ok for your husband to have multiple wife’s,concubines,
        slaves?trade your children for livestock? Incest? It’s all in the Bible.It’s all ok right? NO It’s not. Judge not lest Ye be judged. You too will meet your maker on judgement day. Just sayin.

      • Danny Stratton

        Bahahahahah!!!!! You might what to add that the earth is only five thousand years old and that dinosaurs are a hoax. You are the one true lunatic!

      • Guy Briggs

        “… You might what to add that the earth is only five thousand years old and that dinosaurs are a hoax …”

        One of the nice things about the LdS faith is that we’re not locked into the old Neoplatonic notion of “creation ex nihilo” – so we don’t have to make statements about 5000 year old earth of fake dinosaurs.

  • simone sanner

    SO leave. Believe me, there are better places to be, a lot less tense and judgmental. There are places in Florida that are more relaxed and inclusive, and believe me, that’s really saying something.

      • Christina R.

        Eric Anderson- not a political issue? You must be joking….? Oh you’re not, I see…well tell us this then, who actually issues marriage licenses? I’m gonna say it’s NOT any religious institutions! That’s right, they’re issued by the GOVERNMENT my friend….a church may perform a wedding CEREMONY of course, but the actual license has nothing at all to do with religion. Nice try though ;-) care to give it another shot with a better argument this time?

      • Eric Anderson

        The government shouldn’t issue marriage licenses to anybody. It should record and recognize legal contracts, which any two adults should be able to enter into together. “Marriage” belongs to society. Society decides who is “married” and who is not. That authority is forever beyond the reach of mere government. At least until it achieves absolute power over thought itself.

        Get government out of the marriage business altogether!

      • Peter Bob Clampett

        Eric Andie: But every time a judge rules against you tea baggers ( I know you are playing a liberal on the internet tonight) you cry that he/she is a political activist. You tea baggers are a hoot.

      • Guy Briggs

        “… You must be joking …”

        Nope. This is a moral issue which churches are allowed, by the Constitution and by IRS code, to speak out on.

        Their stance of political neutrality refers to supporting specific candidates or political parties, which the IRS does not allow them to do as a tax-exempt organization.

    • perry

      it’s interesting that you say society allows it….. whatever it is. however if the larger collection of society says something that you disagree with you blame it on religion or some bias that isn’t what you agree. why can’t the majority have a say anymore.

    • Lapitup

      Please read the constitution and tell me where that is in it? I am so tired of people claiming to read or know the constitution. Get educated my friend.

      • Peter Bob Clampett

        Literally true, it is not listed word for word in teh 1st Amendment, but the Supreme Court have issued opinions that the clause prohibiting the establishment of religion was intended to erect a wall of separation between the church and state. You are just regurgitating tea bagger sound bites. You should try try to BECOME educated.

    • Bill

      Fun fact: the separation of church and state is an principle that applies to the government and not really to churches. The first amendment was meant to protect churches and individual beliefs from the control of the government. Churches (and secular humanist groups), like individuals, are allowed to promote their ideas and try to influence others, including law makers.

    • perry

      Christina R if you look at the article the LDS church is only one of many churches that are including their input. so if your going to attack a church attack them all. or be quiet. or move if you don’t like religious sects making decisions on how you and others may live.

  • surprisingwoman

    Can you imagine how many school lunches we could buy if politically involved churches lost their tax exempt status?

    • Eric Anderson

      Your question is based on the premise that all wealth belongs to the Collective. I think you’re in the wrong country, Comrade.

      But beyond that, your dream society would only require us to cut out and burn the First Amendment. I’m sure you can get plenty of liberals on board to do just that, as well as toss out the rest of the Bill of Rights, but you might find it an uphill battle overall.

      • Christina R.

        Eric- public schools are funded primarily by taxes….so if you want to be technical, yes the “collective” does in fact fund the educational system….but instead of funding education with taxes, there will be at least 2 million (from what I understand based off other articles I have read) of our tax dollars that will be going towards fighting this….it’s outrageous. Especially considering the fact that marriage remains a government institution and not a religious one.

  • Kym

    Unfortunately most people don’t see the big picture. Utah and Texas are the two states that have been targeted to get this through because of their conservatism. Once they are conquered the rest of the nation is a piece of cake. This is only the beginning of the liberal agenda. The reason the churches are stepping in is because ultimately the threat is to our religious freedoms. This is about so much more than “two people ‘loving’ each other, or equal rights. They get equal rights through civil unions. It is about destroying the family and conservative values and taking away the tax exemption status of churches, which would be catastrophic to all of the charities and Christian relief they give to people who are really suffering.

    • Utah stuck with me

      Liberal agenda? I did not know there was like a manefesto or a list of things to “conquer”. If religion is going to get into politics by trying to make laws then it needs to pay taxes. Kinda simple isn’t it.

      • Kym

        They wouldn’t be involved if it wasn’t ultimately a threat to our religious freedom. That’s the ONLY reason they are involved. There is far more at stake here than what you can possibly comprehend. It’s way too complicated and would take up far too much of my time to explain, especially to someone who doesn’t want to hear the truth. Not worth it.

      • Bill

        And if politicians and political parties are going to get into politics by trying to make laws then they need to pay taxes as well

    • Casey

      Exactly how does ANY of this destroy your values? Because 2 guys can now get married are you going to be going out to the bar getting drunk each night and snorting cocaine? Didn’t think so. Also about this being the liberal agenda….again no sorry The liberal agenda is nothing more than making it so you can not stick your nose in other peoples business. Its it not your right nor the right of your church to stop people from getting married. If your church does not want to marry 2 people they have every right to refuse …. they can’t however tell those people that they can not get married at all any where else.

      No one is asking your church to be forced to marry people… They are asking that they be allowed to get married period… even if it is just at the court house….which your church is now trying to stop.

  • Utah stuck with me

    You should not have to move the state you live in because of religious stupidity. That is the biggest form of giving in. I will not give in and let my state do this to my family. So Utah you are just stuck with me!

  • Returned missionary

    I would gladly sign a petition to revoke the LDS church’s tax exempt status. After amendment 3 is buried. And it will be. Then the LDS faithful can pack up, and MOVE!

    • Kym

      So let me get this straight. You would much rather have billions of tax dollars go to Obama to decide what to do with it than go to actual human beings that are suffering all over the world that get relief that only Christian charities give on a scale that large? Yes, because homosexuals are in such a more desperate position than children who get horrific diseases simply because the water they have is so contaminated. You would be amazed at the relief Christians bring to this world. Yet you would rather all that be taken away so homosexual people can say they’re “married”? Nothing flawed with that thinking at all.

      • starbugary

        Kym, they don’t give as much to charity as you’ve been lead to believe…”Liberal Agenda” ok lets talk about the “Conservative Agenda” to set things back by decades, deny equal rights to people under the law. Do what you will in your church but keep it out of the government, separation of church and state does mean something as much as that bother the boys in SLC!

      • Christina R.

        Kym- you seem to have a misconception that ONLY Christian churches aid tjose in need… your ignorance is absolutely appalling by the way. Have you ever heard of “social programs” or “emergency services”? Where do you think that money comes from exactly? That would be taxes (as well as donors of course). But everyone’s taxes contribute to programs and services that aid citizens. You’re completely daft if you think that taxing churches would somehow hinder aid to anyone. The church is a multi-BILLION dollar company (yes, company), they aren’t aching for the green. And if churches insist on getting involved with politics (aka our government) then they are VIOLATING the 1st amendment of our Constitution. Your “religious freedom” ends the moment it violates another citizen’s constitutional rights, and that is EXACTLY what’s happening!

      • Christina R.

        Kym- you seem to have a misconception that ONLY Christian churches aid those in need… your ignorance is absolutely appalling by the way. Have you ever heard of “social programs” or “emergency services”? Where do you think that money comes from exactly? That would be taxes (as well as donors of course). But everyone’s taxes contribute to programs and services that aid citizens. You’re completely daft if you think that taxing churches would somehow hinder aid to anyone. The church is a multi-BILLION dollar company (yes, company), they aren’t aching for the green. And if churches insist on getting involved with politics (aka our government) then they are VIOLATING the 1st amendment of our Constitution. Your “religious freedom” ends the moment it violates another citizen’s constitutional rights, and that is EXACTLY what’s happening!

      • Christina R.

        If a religious institution is going to violate the constitutional rights of others, why exactly should they retain a tax exempt status? If they purposely move themselves from the religious realm, into the political realm, what justification is there for maintaining their tax exempt status?

    • Kym

      Thankfully everything is in the Lord’s hands and He knows what side we choose. Maybe it’s just a test to see if we will stand up or fall. I believe the last days are rapidly upon us. In the end we know who wins, so it doesn’t matter what battles we lose along the way as long as we have done all that we can do.

      • starbugary

        Maybe it is a test Kym but it isn’t what you think, maybe the entire point is to become more accepting to climb down from your pedestal, to see an issue from another perspective. If the end is here and the battle is over then you won’t mind staying home on voting day!

      • Joel

        And that would be is to mind your own business. I can sum a LDS life in one word “LIE” and it’s really sad that some people are to stupid to see it. The LDS is not a church but a corporation getting rich of LDS members Tithing…. Your life is so full of SH** and you Mormons don’t get it. BTW, YOU DON’T OWN UTAH STOP TELLING PEOPLE TO MOVE. Maybe if you all don’t like it, you can move. I saw a story on Fox 13 that they want to populate Mars, they you go, you all can be among ET where you belong.

  • bob

    Can I file a brief stating that none of these extremists speak for me or many more Utahns?

    Between me and my neighbors, we want nothing to do with the divisiveness, hatred, and bigotry these factions represent.

    We care about our fellow citizens and want everyone to exercise their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally. We are a community and are very different but are united in the diversity that makes this nation great.

  • Nate801

    Loss of religious freedom? really kym I don’t think so. The argument that the church is going to be sued for not allowing gays to marry in the temple fire example is ridiculous. Many people aren’t allowed to marry in the temple are they lining up to sue the lds church? Your arguments are ridiculous.

  • BJ

    Forget political persuasion or religious affiliation. The caustic anger at the foundation of the LGBT movement’s motivations, coupled with a poorly understood political rhetoric, is what is going to cost them victory in the long run.

  • Returned missionary

    No kym, not so homosexual’s can say they are “married”.
    So “your”church would learn separation of church and state.
    I’m not LDS, nor am I homosexual.
    But my family is sick of the over bearing LDS church running everything from businesses to the government in this State.

    • Eric Anderson

      Who decides what is “their business”? You?

      Give them a list, please. This is your big chance. What are religions allowed to talk about?

      You might want to consult the First Amendment before you go all Nazi on them, though.

      • Christina R.

        Making a public statement regarding political going ons and law making etc does not fall under “religious institutions or topics” so that’s pretty much where the acceptability line is I would say. The church actually taking that step into the legal battle for marriage equality (something which is truly a government institution and NOT a religious one) is unacceptable and a direct violation of the “separation of church and state.”

  • Christina R.

    Kym- you seem to have a misconception that ONLY Christian churches aid those in need… your ignorance is absolutely appalling by the way. Have you ever heard of “social programs” or “emergency services”? Where do you think that money comes from exactly? That would be taxes (as well as donors of course). But everyone’s taxes contribute to programs and services that aid citizens. You’re completely daft if you think that taxing churches would somehow hinder aid to anyone. The church is a multi-BILLION dollar company (yes, company), they aren’t aching for the green. And if churches insist on getting involved with politics (aka our government) then they are VIOLATING the 1st amendment of our Constitution. Your “religious freedom” ends the moment it violates another citizen’s constitutional rights, and that is EXACTLY what’s happening!

      • Christina R.

        Eric Anderson- religious beliefs and religious people are not the same thing…don’t be asinine. Religious institutions and beliefs do NOT get to influence or dictate the laws in this country. Nobody has said that people can’t or shouldn’t have religious beliefs, only that laws are meant to be secular, not religiously based.

  • We were just fine without it!

    If you don’t like Utah laws, please move. We were doing just fine without these liberal laws.

  • Chill out!

    Why so hateful? Both sides are being presented in this comment column with such a sarcastic and biting attitude. Believe what you will, separation of church and state, that gays shouldn’t be married, that the government should adhere to a Christian belief system, that God exists, or that He doesn’t. We all have the right to believe what we choose, so we need to respect that right of others. No one needs to move because they disagree with the views of another, and no one is an idiot for believing in a God and trying to follow what they believe to be right. Keep up the conversation, but please don’t tear others down just to try and make a point. It’s ok (and logical) that different people have different views, let’s accept it and be civil.

  • Drew

    You guys are hilarious…The LDS Church is only 1 of 6 groups being listed as being represented on this, but amazingly enough they are the only group being bashed. And of course we as a people are letting our religions get into politics…it is what we believe that drives how we as individuals want society to be. To think that religion or lack there of doesn’t influence politics would be ludicrous.

    • Christina R.

      Laws are meant to be secular, not religiously based. When a religious institution is influencing laws and those laws violate the Constitution, then it’s no longer just “let’s agree to disagree”… that’s flat out infringement on other’s constitutional rights. Big difference!

      • A. Portzline

        Christina,

        Why should secularism be placed above religion? We all have the right to believe or not believe what we will. All of us are inherently born with those rights. Why should both sides of the argument not be represented?

        This is a complicated issue and should be treated with sensitivity on both ends. I understand many of your concerns, I really do. But do not be deluded into thinking that taking Religion out of politics will solve your problem. It’s important for all of us to take a stand in this world and share what we believe in. That is true liberty.

      • Peter Bob Clampett

        Eric Andie wrote:”Laws, in our society, are meant to represent the sort of society that the citizens want….which is why we get to vote, and express our opinions.”

        Once you get away from regurgitated bagger sound bites, you immediately show what an intellectual light weight you are. Show me where someone who was involved in creating the Constitution who said this ridiculous statement.

        We do not vote to take away the rights of others. The 14th Amendment prohibits states from preventing the equal protect of the law of ALL people. Gays are not excluded just because you dehumanize them.

        I am wasting my time with you. You merely repeat sound bites. When you free lance, you sound like a 4th grader.

  • JWB

    “Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

  • Drew

    I understand that laws are meant to be secular. However many are and should be looked at with some sort of moral compass. We cannot leave our religions entirely out of the picture. If so at some point you will probably be able to marry your own sister or favorite pet for that matter, because who would tell us that it’s not ok?(Note I am not comparing a homosexual partner to either of these).

    • Christina R.

      Are you implying that one must be religious to be moral?… because you are absolutely mistaken. Morality is not based on religious beliefs at all and to insist (or imply) such a thing is not only incorrect but extremely arrogant. Morality is realistically founded in compassion and empathy, characteristics which do NOT require religion.

      And seriously? Marrying a sibling or a pet?… I suppose animals are going to miraculously be able to have legal standing and be able to sign their names to the legal documents and marriage license? Right….. I’m gonna go ahead and bet that THAT’S not gonna happen.

      Morality changes as society changes. It used to be perfectly acceptable to beat one’s wife, to own a person/slave, to trade your children for land or livestock…. obviously morality is not the same.

      Bottom line: marriage is a government institution, not a religious one. So churches need to stay OUT of it.

      • Bill

        He did not say that morality requires religion, just that religions are part of the picture. Religions have the same rights as secular groups to be actively involved in the public discourse.

  • Lyn

    Love is love. If you are Cristian isn’t the teaching not to judge? Lets just worship who or what we want and quit bickering. God is our judge, it is not for us to decide what is right or wrong. Quit trying to pick fights and not worry about trying to figure out the exact definition of what’s written in the constitution.

    • Bill

      I agree that we should not pick fights, but who is to decide right and wrong and write the laws of this land if not the people of the land? God will judge each individual on their choices, but as far as I know, he is not going to personally come down and write our country’s laws for us.

  • Melissa

    It’s not just the LDS Church filing the brief. It’s also The National Association of Evangelicals, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Why do so many people assume that those against same-sex marriage are against it because they believe it’s what God wants? Many believe that same-sex marriages are a drain on society and weaken our civilization. If those for gay marriage want tolerance for their opinions they also need to have tolerance for others’ opposing opinions.

    • A. L.

      Those for gay marriage don’t want tolerance for their opinions as much as they (WE!) want tolerance for LGBT individuals. There’s a REALLY big difference.

  • Peter Bob Clampett

    50 years from now the Mormons will once again be rewriting history and claiming that they were never bigoted towards their fellow human beings simply because of their sexual orientation. Maybe they can blame it on Brigham-again.

    • Shelie Ingram

      I don’t think any Church should be forced to marry LGBT people. They should be allowed to discriminate if they choose to do so. I think they’re bigots but that’s only my opinion. I also think that Unitarian Universalists, Episcopalians and some Lutheran churches who want to marry us should be allowed to as exercising their religious freedoms. Right now the extremist religions are denying other Churches their rights to practice and worship as they wish. This proves that they’re not trying to protect religious freedoms in the US. They’re only interested in pushing their beliefs on everyone else. Morals are defined very differently between different religious institutions. One institution may think something is morally fit that another might find immoral. No religion should be allowed to trump another religion. Their morality argument doesn’t have any merit b/c you have to determine who is moral? Do we decide based on who has more power and money? Do we have a lotto type pick? Civil unions are a second class system and it’s a fact that it denies LGBT couples about hundred rights that Heterosexual couples who are married are given. Separate and certainly not equal. I think the Churches realize they’re losing this battle so they’re becoming more vicious. Just like Jim Crow in the Sixties, he knew changes were coming & he reacted w extremism. It’s just proof that change is near & the bigots are scared and scrambling. Documentaries and movies about our struggle for equality will demonstrate how these Churches bigots, dehumanized, ostracized and blatantly lied about us all in the name of their God. What they don’t realize is that they’re making young people doubt their divinity and genuineness of being about love and family. When they’re clearly so bigoted and mean spirited. 50 years from now, they won’t be able to hide what they’re doing now b/c it’s a digital age. They’ll be on the wrong side of another human rights struggle. Just like they were w Black American rights and Women’s rights etc. Human rights should be protected by the Federal government and the Supreme Court. Just like the Civil Rights Act that was signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It’s 2014 now 50 years later, we need another Civil Rights Act for the LGBT community and ALL States should have to follow the law of the land and allow us our equality. We should ALL be equal in ALL 50 States. No more heterosexual special rights.

  • JOSEPH SAMUEL

    The church seeks another excuse for their hatred and discrimination!
    .
    They had mud slung back into their faces because of the overturned edicts of prop 8, and a Mormon church rules of marriage being between a Man and A Woman well change the wording to legal partnerships, then but allow laws the same as married persons..

    THIS IS HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE NOT A HALF BAKED CHURCH EDICT .

    I still can not believe the inner hidden prejudice, and hatred against
    the LGBT community!
    Those that are prejudice against LGBT, BECAUSE OF NARROW MINDS AND STEREOTYPING!

    I hope the courts are able to decerne the separation of church
    and state.! And repeal the brief.

    I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NEED TO CAUSE HEART
    ACHE AND PAIN TO MAKE LGBT SECOND CLASS CITIZENS?

    The church and all the other Mormon linked organizations need to be ashamed of themselves.

  • TMC

    In comments to FOX 13 on January 9, an LDS Church spokeswoman said they were “not currently planning” to get involved in the Amendment 3 case. I wonder if their mouths hurt from talking out of both sides? Possibly someone got a revelation?

  • THE NATURAL CURE

    THE ANSWER TO THE UNIVERSE IS……..OUTLAW traditional marriage and heterosexual relationships… The LGBT can enjoy what they feel is right…. .After this generation humans will cease to exist !!!…..( Per LGBT no more creation of human souls possible).And then the EARTH can once again be at peace from humans…..Free from their hatred,greed,self indulging,destructive ways…..

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