All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

SCOTUS and Marriage Equality: Westboro Baptists Gives Their Two Cents

So I know I already did a post about the many many briefs that have been filed with SCOTUS about their upcoming cases on marriage equality, but today I found out that the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) submitted their own brief to the court. Let's have some fun and analyze just a bit of it!

The brief starts off by clarifying that it is being filed in support of no party. It says specifically, "The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas respectfully submits this amicus curiae brief in support of no party, but in favor of reversal." I already have to pause and laugh. If they are supporting reversal is that not supporting the appellant? That is what they are there for and that's what WBC is pushing for. Seems like support for the appellant to me.

That was before they even stated why they are interested in submitting. This is going to be good! They state in their Summary of Interest, "WBC has a vested interest in speaking up. WBC members have toiled in the Ameri- can vineyard, entreating Americans to get right with God. Like every citizen of this land, WBC members have an everlasting and non-delegable duty to warn our fellow citizens – and especially our leaders – of the consequence of continuing down this path toward same-sex marriage as a permanent fixture in the culture and mores of the United States."

This is probably going to be a recurring theme and criticism of this brief, but its interesting that they are approaching the court with religious interests. Is it not the first amendment which separates church from state? So one's religion or religious beliefs hold no standing in whether or not a law is constitutional or not. I mean I guess its kinda nice that they are 'looking out' for people's immortal souls (although I don't really want them to look out for anyone's) but that doesn't really matter in a court of law.

The WBC's argument rests on a singular principle; that "The government has responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people. Of all the harms that a society can face, none are worse than incurring the wrath of God by a blatant policy of defiance of and disobedience to His plain standard." So as I thought again we are stuck on this religious principle. Which is already going against the constitution if it is considered (again referring to the 1st amendment).

WBC also makes the claim that the United States was founded on Biblical principles and and "Scriptural precepts". Two notions I wholeheartedly have to disagree on. If I do remember correctly the US was founded on the principles of liberty which can be traced back to philosophers. I don't think the principle of freedom is a biblical one seeing as the bible condoned slavery. I also don't think the idea of separation of church and state is necessarily biblical or the idea of a system of checks and balances. I don't recall ever hearing a piece of scripture dealing with that.

It seems the rest of the 15 page argument is mostly scripture. It quotes lots of scripture and even talk about different interpretations of Genesis referring to the great flood. The WBC talks about the different interpretations and how it is possible (not really in my eyes) that the flood was brought about because of marriage contracts between men. To be honest I think even using their means of interpretation that is a stretch but its really irrelevant again because religious arguments hold no ground in the court and for the law. You would think that since many of the people in the church do go to law school they would/should know this and would formulate an appropriate argument on that principle...but apparently not. I am almost positive that the Supreme Court, if they even pick it up, with read the first few lines and throw it in the garbage.

If you want to read the brief yourself (its rather amusing) click here.

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