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The 6 Most Absurd Prop. 8 Briefs

The Supreme Court has managed to attract some of the most outlandish of arguments from some familiar antigay figures.

Kristina Lapinski

Nine U.S. Supreme Court justices hear arguments today in the Proposition 8 case and in the Defense of Marriage Act case on Wednesday. For the past few weeks briefs have flowed into the Supreme Court in an attempt to persuade the justices, from both sides of the issue. Gay U.S.A. The Movie has compiled a list of the most absurd amici briefs submitted by the anti-equality proponents:

Citizens United

We all remember the infamous Citizens United case, which robbed our democracy by allowing unlimited campaign contributions to tilt the political process in favor of the elite, opening the doors for shady Super PACs and gifts from the likes of Sheldon Adelson. The Citizens United arguments against marriage equality are just as unscrupulous.

In response to the Ninth District’s finding that gays and lesbians “have been victims of a long history of discrimination,” Citizens United makes the argument in its Amicus brief that gays have not faced a “real” history of discrimination because gays were never slaves and have always been considered members of the human race, however deviant and sinful. From the brief (read the complete brief):

“Unlike Blacks, none of them could be bought and sold as ordinary articles of merchandise; rather all had rights to life, liberty, and property that were recognized and enforceable by law.”

“While homosexuals were discriminated against for their sexual deviant behavior, they were never denied, as the Black freedman was, of ‘the right to make and enforce contracts, sue, give evidence, acquire property and ‘to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property,’ as was enjoyed by heterosexuals.”

“Homosexual behavior, then, while unnatural did not mean that those guilty of it were any less human.”

David Boyle

This random lawyer from Long Beach submitted my favorite brief in terms of absurdity. On a par with antigay Westboro Baptist Church, Boyle’s most ludicrous verbiage includes, from the brief (read the complete brief):

 “‘Gay marriage’ may resemble a houseboat, which despite its name may not be able to perform all of a boat’s functions.”

“… marriage is not always gay in the old sense of ‘gay,’ not always a barrel of fun. This is one reason, moral and Biblical reasons aside, why many Americans may be queasy about taking a gay couple’s relationship and calling it ‘marriage.’ The very word ‘gay,’ which may have been adopted by homosexuals (along with ‘cheery’ symbology such as rainbow flags), denotes a state of permanent happiness which may sometimes have little basis in reality. And what basis there is, may come partially from the status of being able to have endless sexual relations without ever risking pregnancy.”

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch is another one of those right-wing conservative D.C. think tanks. Their argument against same-sex marriage: that the most critical function of a marriage is to make sure that men stick around after knocking up their girlfriends in an unintended pregnancy. From the brief (read the complete brief):

“When reserved for opposite sex couples, marriage is therefore intended to increase the chances that couples unintentionally conceiving will enter into ‘stable and committed’ relationships when they might prefer to do otherwise.”

Liberty Council

The Liberty Council is run by well-known homophobe, Mat Staver, dean of the Liberty University Law School, which was founded by the infamous Jerry Falwell. They argue that gays and lesbians don’t actually want marriage because Andrew Sullivan, a well-known gay conservative, published the following and other statements. From the brief (read the complete brief):

“DIX1032 at 140, Camille Paglia, Connubial Personae, 10 Percent, May-June 1995 reprinted in SAME SEX MARRIAGE: PRO AND CON, A READER (Andrew Sullivan, ed., 1997)

“My experience is that gay men’s idea of marriage or any kind of relationship is rather open. . . . Gay men—they’re ‘together for thirty years’: what does that mean? That means they go out and pick up strangers every two weeks. That's a very sophisticated view of marriage. Lesbians aren’t like that. Lesbians nest in one big cinnamon bun where they fuse and it's all very sweet and nice. I like the idea of marriage, but I’m not sure that gay relationships have been tested over time. If we can’t convince each other about it, I don’t know how we’re going to convince the greater world.” (Ed., Andrew Sullivan, 1997).”

Lighted Candle Society

The Lighted Candle Society was founded by John Harmer (a former lieutenant governor and state senator of California) and Edwin Meese III (former U.S. attorney general). They argue that if we allow same-sex marriage, brothers and sisters will marry, fathers and daughters will marry, and all the polygamists will come out of the woodwork. From the brief (read the complete brief):

“.. if same-sex or genderless marriage is imposed, the effort to remove the number component of marriage will necessarily include all permutations of group marriage – opposite-sex, same-sex, and bisexual varieties of polygamy, i.e., polyamory.”

“.. of course, if same-sex marriage is mandated, the law will have to allow relatives of the same gender to marry, e.g., a mother and daughter, father and son, two or more brothers, two or more sisters, etc.”

Westboro Baptist Church

Ah, the Westboro Baptist Church. They never disappoint in reminding us of the impending wrath of God upon this nation. Westboro even invokes the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of “Every adult, child, suckling and animal – utterly destroyed.” From the brief (read the complete brief):

“The old Jewish writings report that the final offense that brought Noah’s Flood was the making of marriage contracts between men.”

Under the Supreme Court’s rules, a brief from an amicus curiae, “friend of the Court,” is supposed to bring to the Court’s attention  “relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties.”  If a brief does not conform, then the rule adds, the document “burdens the Court, and its filing is not favored.”   While to some extent these absurd arguments may be unique, one can only wonder to what extent such garbage could impact the nine.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Kristina Lapinski

Kristina Lapinski is producing and directing Gay U.S.A. the Movie, a feature documentary, currently filming the events surrounding the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases, at SCOTUS, Washington D.C.

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