INDIANAPOLIS – Opponents of same-sex marriage cited political theory, social stability and even biblical text in legal briefs filed this week in federal court, where Indiana and Wisconsin are appealing rulings that overthrew their bans on gay weddings.
At least 20 briefs have been filed in the case that's currently before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, including several filed Wednesday. Virtually all of the briefs stand up for the states.
Federal judges in Indiana and Wisconsin overturned each state's gay marriage probation in separate rulings. When both states appealed, the 7th Circuit court combined the cases.
Hundreds of same-sex couples were married in Indiana and Wisconsin between the time the bans were ruled unconstitutional and when federal courts issued orders staying them from taking effect. The status of those marriages remains in limbo until a final decision is reached, which many observers believe will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Friend of the court briefs are filed by people or organizations who are not directly involved in the case but have an interest in its outcome.
One of the most important briefs was filed Monday by the attorneys general of 10 states — Colorado, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. The attorneys general argue that deciding whether gay people should be allowed to marry should be left to the people, not to the courts.
"The recognition and acceptance of same-sex marriage cannot be forced upon a State by a judge, but will require convincing fellow citizens of the justness of the cause in the proper forum for this dispute — homes, families, coffee shops, schools, churches, towns, legislatures, and campaigns," the 42-page brief said.
The brief also said that policies on same-sex marriage should be left up to individual states.
A brief filed Tuesday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the 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 The Lutheran Church's Missouri Synod cites both the Old Testament and the New Testament to back up its argument.
"Marriage has its origin, not in the will of any particular people, religion, or state, but rather, in the nature of the human person, created by God as male and female," the churches wrote.
The brief, initially filed on Indiana's behalf, also argues that overturning laws against same-sex marriage because they are rooted in religious tradition deprives a huge number of people of their right to participate in democracy.
"If pursued consistently, a policy of voiding laws when they reflect controversial religious or moral judgments would mean the end of representative government as we know it," the churches argued.
Among the other briefs filed in the case were briefs by special interest groups, individuals, and a group of five social science professors who claim that psychological studies validating gay parenting are flawed.