Saying that they “are sincerely dedicated to representing and protecting the interests of all Utah citizens,” 80 Republican members of the Utah State Legislature filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to hear Utah’s same-sex marriage case and to reverse Judge Robert Shelby’s decision that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional.
“We especially feel a profound duty to the children of the State, derived from deep historical roots and experience that confirm that children are substantially benefited and best served by public endorsement and recognition of marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife,” the brief reads. “This promotes and protects a child’s bond with his or her biological parents bound together as a married mother and father. When this is not possible, the State definition of marriage maximizes the likelihood that a child will be raised by a married mother and father.”
The legislators note that Utah ranks lowest in the nation for percentage of unwed births and highest for percentage of children raised through age 17 by both parents.
Louisiana, which also restricts marriage to a man and a woman, has the worst rates of unwed births and child-rearing by both parents through the child’s 17th birthday.
The lawmakers claim that the state of Utah has the “sovereign right to decide domestic relations laws,” quoting the Windsor ruling, which is actually a quote from a 1890 child custody case brought before the Supreme Court.
The brief also mentions that Shelby’s decision did not bring polygamous and incestuous marriages into account.
“If the choice of marriage partners is an unlimited fundamental right, and if that marriage choice cannot be denied even when a majority believes that choice to be “immoral,” then the fundamental rights analysis applied by the Tenth Circuit will apply with even greater force to consenting adults desiring polygamous marriage or marriage between at least some close relatives. The prohibition of those marriages has always been grounded in morality. Without a moral justification, courts will be obliged to remove existing marriage prohibitions as the U.S. District Court did last month in Utah.”
The brief goes on to list many of Utah’s discriminatory measures, including adoption, fostering, legal parenthood, education policies, premarital counseling and divorce.
But, the lawmakers (Amici) write, none of this is because they dislike gay and lesbian people.
“In highlighting these concerns Amici strenuously reaffirm their genuine respect and compassion for all individuals,” the brief states. “Utah’s decision not to adopt same-sex marriage is not motivated by animus and individuals are free to engage in private sexual conduct as they choose. However, Amici feel strongly that the interests of Utah’s children are best served by continued adherence to deeply rooted marriage laws that encourage raising children in a home with both biological parents, or when that is not possible, by a mother and a father. This ideal is not always perfectly realized but Amici strongly contend that continued adherence to long established laws protecting and furthering this ideal are in the best interest of our children and that this interest is an appropriate moral choice to preserve the optimum family environment in which to conceive and nurture the next generation.”
“Accordingly, this Court should not abandon its longstanding determination that State standards undergird marriage as a ‘sacred’ institution upon which the very existence and survival of society rests,” the brief reads. “For the foregoing reasons we respectfully request that this Court grant the State’s petition of certiorari and reverse the decision below of the Tenth Circuit.”
The brief was signed by:
Utah State Senators Stuart J. Adams (Dist. 22), Curtis S. Bramble (Dist. 16), Allen M. Christensen (Dist. 19), Margaret Dayton (Dist. 15), Wayne A. Harper (Dist. 6), Deidre M. Henderson (Dist. 7), Lyle W. Hillyard (Dist. 25), David P. Hinkins (Dist. 27), Scott K. Jenkins (Dist. 20), Peter C. Knudson (Dist. 17), Mark B. Madsen (Dist. 13), Wayne L. Niederhauser (Dist. 9), (Senate President), Ralph Okerlund (Dist. 24), Aaron Osmond (Dist. 10), Stuart C. Reid (Dist. 18), Howard A. Stephenson (Dist. 11), Jerry W. Stevenson (Dist. 21), Daniel W. Thatcher (Dist. 12), John L. Valentine (Dist. 14), Kevin T. Van Tassell (Dist. 26), Evan J. Vickers (Dist. 28), Todd Weiler (Dist. 23), (22 of 29 current Utah State Senators)
Utah State Representatives Jacob L. Anderegg (Dist. 6), Jerry B. Anderson (Dist. 69), Stewart Barlow (Dist. 17), Roger E. Barrus (Dist. 18), Jim Bird (Dist. 42), Melvin R. Brown (Dist. 53), LaVar Christensen (Dist. 32), Kay J. Christofferson (Dist. 56), Rich Cunningham (Dist. 50), Brad L. Dee (Dist. 11), Jack R. Draxler (Dist. 3), James A. Dunnigan (Dist. 39), Rebecca P. Edwards (Dist. 20), Steve Eliason (Dist. 45), Justin Fawson (Dist. 7), Gage Froerer (Dist. 8), Francis Gibson (Dist. 65), Brian Greene (Dist. 57), Richard A. Greenwood (Dist. 12), Keith Grover (Dist. 61), Stephen G. Handy (Dist. 16), Gregory H. Hughes (Dist. 51), Eric K. Hutchings (Dist. 38), Don L. Ipson (Dist. 75), Ken Ivory (Dist. 47), Michael S. Kennedy (Dist. 27), John Knotwell (Dist. 52), Bradley G. Last (Dist. 71), Dana L. Layton (Dist. 60), David E. Lifferth (Dist. 2), Rebecca D. Lockhart (Dist. 64), (Speaker), John G. Mathis (Dist. 55), Daniel McCay (Dist. 41), Kay L. McIff (Dist. 70), Mike K. McKell (Dist. 66), Ronda Rudd Menlove (Dist. 1), Merrill F. Nelson (Dist. 68), Jim Nielson (Dist. 19), Michael E. Noel (Dist. 73), Curtis Oda (Dist. 14), Lee B. Perry (Dist. 29), Jeremy A. Peterson (Dist. 9), Val L. Peterson (Dist. 59), Dixon M. Pitcher (Dist. 10), Kraig Powell (Dist. 54), Paul Ray (Dist. 13), Edward H. Redd (Dist. 4), Marc K. Roberts (Dist. 67), Douglas V. Sagers (Dist. 21), Dean Sanpei (Dist. 63), V. Lowry Snow (Dist. 74), Robert M. Spendlove (Dist. 49), Jon E. Stanard (Dist. 62), Keven J. Stratton (Dist. 48), Earl D. Tanner (Dist. 43), R. Curt Webb (Dist. 5), John R. Westwood (Dist. 72), Brad R. Wilson (Dist. 15), (58 of 75 current Utah State Representatives)
This brief, along with all briefs related to the same-sex marriage cases in Utah, have been posted by Fox 13 News’ Ben Winslow fox13now.com