In late March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases that have the potential to move the nation closer to the goal of marriage equality. The Board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians has signed on as an Amicus curiae in briefs supportive of same-gender civil marriage from a religious perspective:
Amici curiae (“Amici”) represent a broad range of religious groups, organizations, and leaders who support equal treatment for same-sex couples affecting state-regulated civil marriage. While Amici come from faiths that have approached issues with respect to lesbian and gay people and their families in different ways over the years, they are united in the belief that, in our vastly diverse and pluralistic society, particular religious views or definitions of marriage should not be permitted to influence who the state permits to marry or how legally married couples are treated by the federal government. Such rights must be determined by religiously neutral principles of equal protection under the law.
Lower courts have held that Proposition 8, which removed the right of same-gender couples to marry in California, is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, on March 26. On March 27 the Court will consider the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in U.S. v. Windsor.
Both briefs make the same arguments:
I. A Wide Cross-Section Of American Religious Traditions Recognizes The Dignity Of Lesbian And Gay People And Their Relationships
A. The Inherent Dignity Of Lesbian And Gay Individuals Informs The Theology Of Numerous Religious Believers And Bodies
B. A Vast Spectrum Of American Faith Groups And Religious Observers Affirms Same-Sex Couples’ Relationships In A Multitude Of Ways, Including By Celebrating And Solemnizing Their Marriages
II. Recognizing The Necessary Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage, A Growing Number Of Faiths Support Civil Marriage Equality
III. Recognizing Civil Marriages Of Same-Sex Couples Will Not Impinge Upon Religious Beliefs, Practices, Or Operations, But Rather Will Prevent One Set Of Religious Beliefs From Being Imposed Through Civil Law
A. Affirmance Would Not Interfere With The Exercise Of Religious Freedoms, Including The Freedom To Set Parameters For Religiously Sanctioned Marriage That May Differ From Those Established Under Civil Law
B. Recognizing The Civil Marriages Of Same-Sex Couples Will Not Burden Religious Organizations’ Ability To Operate And Govern Their Own Religious Affairs
C. While Amici Respect All Fellow Faiths, Including Those That Embrace Different Religious Views On Marriage, It Is Constitutionally Impermissible To Impose Religious Views Through Civil Law To Curtail The Right Of Same-Sex Couples To Civilly Marry