Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AU & Allies Ask Federal Appeals Court To Strike Utah’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Ban Violates First Amendment Religious Liberty Protections, Coalition Says

March 5, 2014

Americans United has joined a legal brief asking a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.

The brief, filed by Americans United, the Anti-Defamation League and 23 other religious and public policy groups, says the state’s ban is unconstitutional and argues that it restricts, rather than protects, religious liberty.

[Editor's note:  the legal brief can be read by clicking on the link below.]

“A handful of religious groups should not be allowed to define marriage for all Americans,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “That is fundamentally at odds with what religious liberty is supposed to be about. The Constitution guarantees protection for everyone, not just a privileged few.”

The brief, filed before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the government cannot adopt a definition of marriage favored by some religious groups.

“A decision overturning the Marriage Ban would assure full state recognition of civil marriages, while allowing religious groups the freedom to choose how to define marriage for themselves,” the groups assert. “It is a violation of the First Amendment to deny individuals the right to marry on the grounds that such marriages would offend the tenets of a particular religious group.”